Nick Scali Limited's (ASX:NCK) dividend will be increasing from last year's payment of the same period to A$0.35 on 24th of October. This makes the dividend yield about the same as the industry average at 6.4%.
Nick Scali's Earnings Easily Cover The Distributions
Solid dividend yields are great, but they only really help us if the payment is sustainable. Before this announcement, Nick Scali was paying out 76% of earnings, but a comparatively small 55% of free cash flows. In general, cash flows are more important than earnings, so we are comfortable that the dividend will be sustainable going forward, especially with so much cash left over for reinvestment.
Earnings per share is forecast to rise by 5.1% over the next year. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, our estimates say the payout ratio could reach 84% - on the higher side, but we wouldn't necessarily say this is unsustainable.
The company's dividend history has been marked by instability, with at least one cut in the last 10 years. The dividend has gone from an annual total of A$0.09 in 2012 to the most recent total annual payment of A$0.70. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 23% per annum over that time. It is great to see strong growth in the dividend payments, but cuts are concerning as it may indicate the payout policy is too ambitious.
Nick Scali Might Find It Hard To Grow Its Dividend
Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Nick Scali has impressed us by growing EPS at 15% per year over the past five years. Recently, the company has been able to grow earnings at a decent rate, but with the payout ratio on the higher end we don't think the dividend has many prospects for growth.
In summary, while it's always good to see the dividend being raised, we don't think Nick Scali's payments are rock solid. The company is generating plenty of cash, which could maintain the dividend for a while, but the track record hasn't been great. Overall, we don't think this company has the makings of a good income stock.
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. For example, we've picked out 1 warning sign for Nick Scali that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock. Is Nick Scali not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top dividend stocks.
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