Wagners Holding Company Limited (ASX:WGN) Is Yielding 2.8% – But Is It A Buy?

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Dividend paying stocks like Wagners Holding Company Limited (ASX:WGN) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research shows that a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

Wagners Holding has only been paying a dividend for a year or so, so investors might be curious about its 2.8% yield. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Wagners Holding!
ASX:WGN Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019
ASX:WGN Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019

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 be form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Wagners Holding paid out 57% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. 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.

We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Wagners Holding paid out 19% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Wagners Holding’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. This company has been paying a dividend for less than 2 years, which we think is too soon to consider it a reliable dividend stock. During the past one-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.03 in 2018, compared to AU$0.057 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 90% a year over that time.

We’re not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Wagners Holding’s earnings per share have fallen -40% over the past year. This is a pretty serious concern, and it would be worth investigating whether something fundamental in the business has changed – or broken. We do note though, one year is too short a time to be drawing strong conclusions about a company’s future prospects.

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. First, we think Wagners Holding has an acceptable payout ratio and its dividend is well covered by cashflow. Earnings per share are down, and to our mind Wagners Holding has not been paying a dividend long enough to demonstrate its resilience across economic cycles. Ultimately, Wagners Holding comes up short on our dividend analysis. It’s not that we think it is a bad company – just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. Businesses can change though, and we think it would make sense to see what analysts are forecasting for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.