You Have To Love China Oriental Group Company Limited’s (HKG:581) Dividend

Is China Oriental Group Company Limited (HKG:581) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

So you might want to consider getting our latest analysis on China Oriental Group’s financial health here.

In this case, China Oriental Group likely looks attractive to investors, given its 9.4% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Remember though, given the recent drop in its share price, China Oriental Group’s yield will look higher, even though the market may now be expecting a decline in its long-term prospects. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on China Oriental Group!

SEHK:581 Historical Dividend Yield, October 11th 2019
SEHK:581 Historical Dividend Yield, October 11th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. China Oriental Group paid out 20% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. China Oriental Group’s cash payout ratio last year was 14%. Cash flows are typically lumpy, but this looks like an appropriately conservative payout. It’s encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don’t drop precipitously.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note China Oriental Group’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of China Oriental Group’s dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.072 in 2009, compared to CN¥0.23 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 12% per year over this time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.

It’s not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We’re generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see China Oriental Group has grown its earnings per share at 94% per annum over the past five years. The company is only paying out a fraction of its earnings as dividends, and in the past been able to use the retained earnings to grow its profits rapidly – an ideal combination.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that China Oriental Group has low and conservative payout ratios. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. China Oriental Group performs highly under this analysis, although it falls slightly short of our exacting standards. At the right valuation, it could be a solid dividend prospect.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for China Oriental Group for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.