Power Corporation of Canada (TSE:POW) Is Yielding 5.3% – But Is It A Buy?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today we’ll take a closer look at Power Corporation of Canada (TSE:POW) 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. 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 high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Power of Canada. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

TSX:POW Historical Dividend Yield, May 31st 2019
TSX:POW Historical Dividend Yield, May 31st 2019

Payout ratios

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. Power of Canada paid out 68% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

We update our data on Power of Canada every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. Power of Canada has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of 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$1.16 in 2009, compared to CA$1.53 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 2.8% a year over that time.

Dividends have grown relatively slowly, which is not great, but some investors may value the relative consistency of the dividend.

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. Power of Canada’s earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company’s dividends could be eroded by inflation. Growth of 1.3% is relatively anaemic growth, which we wonder about. If the company is struggling to grow, perhaps that’s why it elects to pay out more than half of its earnings to shareholders.

Conclusion

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. Power of Canada’s payout ratio is within an average range for most market participants. Second, earnings growth has been mediocre, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Power of Canada out there.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for Power of Canada for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.