Stock Analysis

Three Things You Should Check Before Buying Netwealth Group Limited (ASX:NWL) For Its Dividend

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ASX:NWL
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Is Netwealth Group Limited (ASX:NWL) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend 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 1.3% yield, investors probably think Netwealth Group is not much of a dividend stock. Many of the best dividend stocks typically start out paying a low yield, so we wouldn't automatically cut it from our list of prospects. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

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historic-dividend
ASX:NWL Historic Dividend April 2nd 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Netwealth Group paid out 79% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. It's paying out most of its earnings, which limits the amount that can be reinvested in the business. This may indicate limited need for further capital within the business, or highlight a commitment to paying a dividend.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Netwealth Group'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. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we'd like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.05 in 2018, compared to AU$0.2 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 50% per year over this time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. It's good to see Netwealth Group has been growing its earnings per share at 27% a year over the past five years. Netwealth Group earnings have been growing very quickly recently, but given that it is paying out more than half of its earnings, we wonder if it will have enough capital to fund further growth in the future.

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. Netwealth Group's payout ratio is within normal bounds. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. In summary, we're unenthused by Netwealth Group 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.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. For example, we've picked out 3 warning signs for Netwealth Group that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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