The board of Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation (TSE:AI) has announced that it will pay a dividend of CA$0.075 per share on the 13th of July. Based on this payment, the dividend yield on the company's stock will be 6.3%, which is an attractive boost to shareholder returns.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Dividend Is Well Covered By Earnings
We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. Based on the last payment, Atrium Mortgage Investment's profits didn't cover the dividend, but the company was generating enough cash instead. Generally, we think cash is more important than accounting measures of profit, so with the cash flows easily covering the dividend, we don't think there is much reason to worry.
Earnings per share is forecast to rise by 7.1% over the next year. If the dividend continues growing along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio could reach 92%, which is on the higher side, but certainly still feasible.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Dividend Has Lacked Consistency
It's comforting to see that Atrium Mortgage Investment has been paying a dividend for a number of years now, however it has been cut at least once in that time. This suggests that the dividend might not be the most reliable. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from CA$0.83 to CA$0.92. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 1.2% per annum over that time. It's encouraging to see some dividend growth, but the dividend has been cut at least once, and the size of the cut would eliminate most of the growth anyway, which makes this less attractive as an income investment.
The Dividend's Growth Prospects Are Limited
Growing earnings per share could be a mitigating factor when considering the past fluctuations in the dividend. Unfortunately, Atrium Mortgage Investment's earnings per share has been essentially flat over the past five years, which means the dividend may not be increased each year.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Dividend Doesn't Look Sustainable
In summary, while it's good to see that the dividend hasn't been cut, we are a bit cautious about Atrium Mortgage Investment's payments, as there could be some issues with sustaining them into the future. 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.
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. For instance, we've picked out 1 warning sign for Atrium Mortgage Investment that investors should take into consideration. We have also put together a list of global stocks with a solid dividend.
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