Stock Analysis

Should You Or Shouldn't You: A Dividend Analysis on Apiam Animal Health Limited (ASX:AHX)

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ASX:AHX
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Could Apiam Animal Health Limited (ASX:AHX) 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. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

With a goodly-sized dividend yield despite a relatively short payment history, investors might be wondering if Apiam Animal Health is a new dividend aristocrat in the making. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story. 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:AHX Historic Dividend February 25th 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. 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 55% of Apiam Animal Health's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Apiam Animal Health paid out 21% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable. It's positive to see that Apiam Animal Health's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Apiam Animal Health's financial position 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. Looking at the data, we can see that Apiam Animal Health has been paying a dividend for the past four years. 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 four-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.02 in 2017, compared to AU$0.02 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 11% a year over that 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 Apiam Animal Health has been growing its earnings per share at 120% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share are sharply up, but we wonder if paying out more than half its earnings (leaving less for reinvestment) is an implicit signal that Apiam Animal Health's growth will be slower in the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Apiam Animal Health's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Apiam Animal Health's payout ratios are within a normal range for the average corporation, and we like that its cashflow was stronger than reported profits. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. Overall we think Apiam Animal Health is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

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. As an example, we've identified 4 warning signs for Apiam Animal Health that you should be aware of before investing.

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

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