Stock Analysis

TerraVest Industries Inc. (TSE:TVK) Is An Attractive Dividend Stock - Here's Why

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TSX:TVK
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Today we'll take a closer look at TerraVest Industries Inc. (TSE:TVK) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

Investors might not know much about TerraVest Industries's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last eight years and offers a 2.7% yield. A 2.7% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. 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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historic-dividend
TSX:TVK Historic Dividend November 18th 2020

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 form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. TerraVest Industries paid out 33% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. TerraVest Industries' cash payout ratio last year was 15%. Cash flows are typically lumpy, but this looks like an appropriately conservative payout. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Consider getting our latest analysis on TerraVest Industries' 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. The first recorded dividend for TerraVest Industries, in the last decade, was eight years ago. The dividend has been quite stable over the past eight years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past eight-year period, the first annual payment was CA$0.3 in 2012, compared to CA$0.4 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 2.8% per year over this time.

We like that the dividend hasn't been shrinking. However we're conscious that the company hasn't got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. It's good to see TerraVest Industries has been growing its earnings per share at 16% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing at a good rate, and the company is paying less than half its earnings as dividends. We generally think this is an attractive combination, as it permits further reinvestment in the business.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that TerraVest Industries' dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we like that the company's dividend payments appear well covered, although the retained capital also needs to be effectively reinvested. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. Overall we think TerraVest Industries scores well on our analysis. It's not quite perfect, but we'd definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. As an example, we've identified 4 warning signs for TerraVest Industries that you should be aware of before investing.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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