Is Moelis Australia Limited (ASX:MOE) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 18, 2021
ASX:MOE

Could Moelis Australia Limited (ASX:MOE) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

With only a three-year payment history, and a 1.9% yield, investors probably think Moelis Australia is not much of a dividend stock. While it may not look like much, if earnings are growing it could become quite interesting. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 1.1% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. 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 Moelis Australia!

historic-dividend
ASX:MOE Historic Dividend April 19th 2021

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. Looking at the data, we can see that 54% of Moelis Australia's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.

We update our data on Moelis Australia every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.07 in 2018, compared to AU$0.1 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 13% per year over this time.

Moelis Australia has been growing its dividend quite rapidly, which is exciting. However, the short payment history makes us question whether this performance will persist across a full market cycle.

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. It's good to see Moelis Australia has been growing its earnings per share at 14% a year over the past five years. Moelis Australia's earnings per share have grown rapidly in recent years, although more than half of its profits are being paid out as dividends, which makes us wonder if the company has a limited number of reinvestment opportunities in its business.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Moelis Australia's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Moelis Australia's payout ratio is within normal bounds. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. In summary, we're unenthused by Moelis Australia as a dividend stock. It's not that we think it is a bad company; it simply falls short of our criteria in some key areas.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Moelis Australia (of which 1 is concerning!) 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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