Is Imperial Pacific Limited's (ASX:IPC) 6.0% Dividend Sustainable?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 07, 2020
ASX:IPC

Is Imperial Pacific Limited (ASX:IPC) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

With Imperial Pacific yielding 6.0% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Imperial Pacific for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

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ASX:IPC Historic Dividend September 8th 2020

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. While Imperial Pacific pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. When a loss-making financial company pays a dividend, the dividend is not being paid out of profit, which is a concern if the company can't return to operating profitably.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Imperial Pacific's financial position here.

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 Imperial Pacific's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.04 in 2010, compared to AU$0.06 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 6.0% per year over this time.

Businesses that can grow their dividends at a decent rate and maintain a stable payout can generate substantial wealth for shareholders over the long term.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. In the last five years, Imperial Pacific's earnings per share have shrunk at approximately 6.0% per annum. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Imperial Pacific's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, it's not great to see a dividend being paid despite the company being unprofitable over the last year. It's not great to see earnings per share shrinking. The dividends have been relatively consistent, but we wonder for how much longer this will be true. To conclude, we've spotted a couple of potential concerns with Imperial Pacific that may make it less than ideal candidate for dividend investors.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. To that end, Imperial Pacific has 4 warning signs (and 3 which are concerning) we think you should know about.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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