The board of Nickel Mines Limited (ASX:NIC) has announced that the dividend on 10th of September will be increased to AU$0.02, which will be 100% higher than last year. This takes the annual payment to 4.0% of the current stock price, which unfortunately is below what the industry is paying.
Nickel Mines' Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
While yield is important, another factor to consider about a company's dividend is whether the current payout levels are feasible. Prior to this announcement, Nickel Mines' dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. This means that a large portion of its earnings are being retained to grow the business.
Earnings per share is forecast to rise by 59.7% over the next year. If recent patterns in the dividend continues, the payout ratio in 12 months could be 77% which is a bit high but can definitely be sustainable.
Nickel Mines Doesn't Have A Long Payment History
Without a track record of dividend payments, we can't make a judgement on how stable it has been. This doesn't mean that the company can't pay a good dividend, but just that we want to wait until it can prove itself.
The Dividend Looks Likely To Grow
Investors could be attracted to the stock based on the quality of its payment history. Nickel Mines has impressed us by growing EPS at 56% per year over the past five years. The company doesn't have any problems growing, despite returning a lot of capital to shareholders, which is a very nice combination for a dividend stock to have.
The company has also been raising capital by issuing stock equal to 18% of shares outstanding in the last 12 months. Trying to grow the dividend when issuing new shares reminds us of the ancient Greek tale of Sisyphus - perpetually pushing a boulder uphill. Companies that consistently issue new shares are often suboptimal from a dividend perspective.
We Really Like Nickel Mines' Dividend
Overall, we think this could be an attractive income stock, and it is only getting better by paying a higher dividend this year. Distributions are quite easily covered by earnings, which are also being converted to cash flows. All in all, this checks a lot of the boxes we look for when choosing an income stock.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. As an example, we've identified 2 warning signs for Nickel Mines that you should be aware of before investing. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of strong dividend payers.
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