Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (TSE:KL) Has Got What It Takes To Be An Attractive Dividend Stock

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 23, 2021
Source: Shutterstock

Could Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (TSE:KL) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

With a 2.2% yield and a four-year payment history, investors probably think Kirkland Lake Gold looks like a reliable dividend stock. A 2.2% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. The company also returned around 8.0% of its market capitalisation to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks over the past year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Kirkland Lake Gold for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Kirkland Lake Gold!

historic-dividend
TSX:KL Historic Dividend March 24th 2021

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. Kirkland Lake Gold paid out 19% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Kirkland Lake Gold paid out 16% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable. 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.

With a strong net cash balance, Kirkland Lake Gold investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Kirkland Lake Gold's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. Looking at the data, we can see that Kirkland Lake Gold has been paying a dividend for the past four years. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we'd like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.03 in 2017, compared to US$0.8 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 125% a year over that time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

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 Kirkland Lake Gold has been growing its earnings per share at 94% a year over the past five years. The company is only paying out a fraction of its earnings as dividends, and in the past been able to use the retained earnings to grow its profits rapidly - an ideal combination.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Kirkland Lake Gold's 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. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. Kirkland Lake Gold performs highly under this analysis, although it falls slightly short of our exacting standards. At the right valuation, it could be a solid dividend prospect.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. For example, we've picked out 2 warning signs for Kirkland Lake Gold that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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