Should You Or Shouldn't You: A Dividend Analysis on Züblin Immobilien Holding AG (VTX:ZUBN)

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 11, 2021
SWX:ZUBN
Source: Shutterstock

Today we'll take a closer look at Züblin Immobilien Holding AG (VTX:ZUBN) 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 popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

Züblin Immobilien Holding yields a solid 3.5%, although it has only been paying for three years. A high yield probably looks enticing, but investors are likely wondering about the short payment history. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Züblin Immobilien Holding for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Züblin Immobilien Holding!

historic-dividend
SWX:ZUBN Historic Dividend April 12th 2021

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. In the last year, Züblin Immobilien Holding paid out 151% of its profit as dividends. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, from the perspective of an investor who hopes to own the company for many years, a payout ratio of above 100% is definitely a concern.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Züblin Immobilien Holding's cash payout ratio in the last year was 36%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's good to see that while Züblin Immobilien Holding's dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we'd be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Züblin Immobilien Holding's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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 dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. Its most recent annual dividend was CHF1.0 per share, effectively flat on its first payment three years ago.

It's good to see at least some dividend growth. Yet with a relatively short dividend paying history, we wouldn't want to depend on this dividend too heavily.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Züblin Immobilien Holding has grown its earnings per share at 61% per annum over the past five years. The company has been growing its EPS at a very rapid rate, while paying out virtually all of its income as dividends. Generally, a company that is growing rapidly while paying out a majority of its earnings, is seeing its debt burden increase. We'd be conscious of any extra risk added by this practice.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Züblin Immobilien Holding's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're a bit uncomfortable with its high payout ratio, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Züblin Immobilien Holding out there.

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. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Züblin Immobilien Holding (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

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

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