Does Evans Dixon Limited (ASX:ED1) Have A Place In Your Dividend Stock Portfolio?

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Today we’ll take a closer look at Evans Dixon Limited (ASX:ED1) from a dividend investor’s perspective. Owning a strong dividend company and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Unfortunately, one common occurrence with dividend companies is for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

Some readers mightn’t know much about Evans Dixon’s 6.9% dividend, as it has only been paying distributions for a year or so. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis
ASX:ED1 Historical Dividend Yield, May 8th 2019
ASX:ED1 Historical Dividend Yield, May 8th 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 121% of Evans Dixon’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Evans Dixon paid out 639% of its free cash flow last year, which we think is a risk if cash flows do not improve. Paying out more than 100% of your free cash flow in dividends is generally not a long-term, sustainable state of affairs, so we think shareholders should watch this metric closely.

With a strong net cash balance, Evans Dixon investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Evans Dixon’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. This company has been paying a dividend for less than 2 years, which we think is too soon to consider it a reliable dividend stock. During the past one-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.10 in 2018, compared to AU$0.11 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10.0% a year over that time.

Evans Dixon has been growing its dividend at a decent rate, and the payments have been stable despite the short payment history. This is a positive start.

Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient’s purchasing power. EPS have fallen -30% over the last 12 months. That’s not great to see, but there could be a number of reasons for this. Should the decline continue, we would become concerned. We do note though, one year is too short a time to be drawing strong conclusions about a company’s future prospects.

We’d also point out that Evans Dixon issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental – it’s hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. We’re a bit uncomfortable with Evans Dixon paying out a high percentage of both its cashflow and earnings. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and the dividend history is shorter than we’d like. Using these criteria, Evans Dixon looks quite suboptimal from a dividend investment perspective.

See if management have put their money where their mouth is, by checking insider shareholdings in Evans Dixon stock.

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.