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Dividend paying stocks like Andrew Peller Limited (TSE:ADW.A) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.
A 1.5% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Andrew Peller has some staying power. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 3.2% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Andrew Peller for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 44% of Andrew Peller's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. The company paid out 64% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash Andrew Peller has available to meet other needs. It's positive to see that Andrew Peller'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.
Is Andrew Peller's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Andrew Peller has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments on debt. Essentially we check that a) a company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. Andrew Peller has net debt of 2.81 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA). Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.
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 6.28 times its interest expense appears reasonable for Andrew Peller, although we're conscious that even high interest cover doesn't make a company bulletproof.
We update our data on Andrew Peller every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Andrew Peller's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CA$0.11 in 2009, compared to CA$0.20 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 6.4% 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. Earnings have grown at around 6.2% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.
When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Andrew Peller's dividend payout ratios are within normal bounds, although we note its cash flow is not as strong as the income statement would suggest. Earnings per share growth has been slow, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. Overall we think Andrew Peller is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.
Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Andrew Peller in our latest insider ownership analysis.
If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.