Here’s What You Should Know About Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group’s (ASX:SCP) 5.5% Dividend Yield

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Is Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group (ASX:SCP) a good dividend stock? How would you know? A dividend paying company with growing earnings can be 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.

In this case, Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 5.5% dividend yield and six-year payment history. It sure looks interesting on these metrics – but there’s always more to the story . 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.

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ASX:SCP Historical Dividend Yield, April 30th 2019
ASX:SCP Historical Dividend Yield, April 30th 2019

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 be form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group paid out 84% of its profit as dividends. 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.

We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group paid out 99% of its cash flow last year. This may be sustainable but it does not leave much of a buffer for unexpected circumstances.

REITs like Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group often have different rules governing their distributions, so a higher payout ratio on its own is not unusual.

We update our data on Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, 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. Looking at the data, we can see that Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group has been paying a dividend for the past six years. Its dividend has not fluctuated much that time, which we like, but we’re conscious that the company might not yet have a track record of maintaining dividends in all economic conditions. During the past six-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.056 in 2013, compared to AU$0.14 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 17% 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. Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group has grown its earnings per share at 5.6% per annum over the past five years. EPS have been growing at a reasonable rate, although with most of the profits being paid out to shareholders, we question if the company will be able to keep growing its dividends in the future.

We’d also point out that Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental – it’s hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group’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 Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and we think it has not been paying dividends long enough to demonstrate resilience across economic cycles. Ultimately, Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group 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.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 6 analysts we track are forecasting for Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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