Stock Analysis

Would Pental Limited (ASX:PTL) Be Valuable To Income Investors?

ASX:PTL
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Is Pental Limited (ASX:PTL) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Pental. 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 Pental for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Pental!

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ASX:PTL Historic Dividend March 16th 2021

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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 53% of Pental'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.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Pental's cash payout ratio in the last year was 45%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note Pental's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

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

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. Pental has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been cut on at least one occasion historically. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.9 in 2011, compared to AU$0.02 last year. Dividend payments have fallen sharply, down 98% over that time.

We struggle to make a case for buying Pental for its dividend, given that payments have shrunk over the past 10 years.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. Earnings have grown at around 3.2% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! 3.2% per annum is not a particularly high rate of growth, which we find curious. If the company is struggling to grow, perhaps that's why it elects to pay out more than half of its earnings to shareholders.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Pental's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we think Pental has an acceptable payout ratio and its dividend is well covered by cashflow. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Pental out there.

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. As an example, we've identified 2 warning signs for Pental that you should be aware of before investing.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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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