Is Warehouses De Pauw (EBR:WDP) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.
In this case, Warehouses De Pauw likely looks attractive to investors, given its 3.2% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. 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.
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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. In the last year, Warehouses De Pauw paid out 29% of its profit as dividends. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.
Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Warehouses De Pauw's cash payout ratio in the last year was 31%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's positive to see that Warehouses De Pauw's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
It is worth considering that Warehouses De Pauw is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). REITs have different rules governing their payments, and are often required to pay out a high portion of their earnings to investors.
Is Warehouses De Pauw's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Warehouses De Pauw has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). Warehouses De Pauw has net debt of 9.46 times its EBITDA, which implies meaningful risk if interest rates rise of earnings decline.
Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. Net interest cover of 8.87 times its interest expense appears reasonable for Warehouses De Pauw, although we're conscious that even high interest cover doesn't make a company bulletproof. Adequate interest cover may make the debt look safe, relative to companies with a lower interest cover ratio. However with such a large mountain of debt overall, we're cautious of what could happen if interest rates rise.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. Warehouses De Pauw has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €2.94 in 2009, compared to €4.80 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 5.0% per year over this time.
Companies like this, growing their dividend at a decent rate, can be very valuable over the long term, if the rate of growth can be maintained.
Dividend Growth Potential
While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Warehouses De Pauw has grown its earnings per share at 23% per annum over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.
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. It's great to see that Warehouses De Pauw is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. It hasn't demonstrated a strong ability to grow earnings per share, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. Overall, we think there are a lot of positives to Warehouses De Pauw from a dividend perspective.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 5 Warehouses De Pauw analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on 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 email@example.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.
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