Don't Buy Puerto Ventanas S.A. (SNSE:VENTANAS) For Its Next Dividend Without Doing These Checks

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 20, 2022
SNSE:VENTANAS
Source: Shutterstock

It looks like Puerto Ventanas S.A. (SNSE:VENTANAS) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Therefore, if you purchase Puerto Ventanas' shares on or after the 25th of April, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 28th of April.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.0046 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.012 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Puerto Ventanas has a trailing yield of 6.4% on the current share price of CLP156.62. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to investigate whether Puerto Ventanas can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for Puerto Ventanas

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Puerto Ventanas paid out 58% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. It paid out 101% of its free cash flow in the form of dividends last year, which is outside the comfort zone for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings - expenses don't pay themselves - so it's not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.

While Puerto Ventanas's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were Puerto Ventanas to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

Click here to see how much of its profit Puerto Ventanas paid out over the last 12 months.

historic-dividend
SNSE:VENTANAS Historic Dividend April 20th 2022

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Puerto Ventanas, with earnings per share up 4.9% on average over the last five years. Earnings have been growing somewhat, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Puerto Ventanas has seen its dividend decline 7.1% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. Puerto Ventanas is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.

The Bottom Line

Has Puerto Ventanas got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have grown somewhat, although Puerto Ventanas paid out over half its profits and the dividend was not well covered by free cash flow. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.

Although, if you're still interested in Puerto Ventanas and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. For example, we've found 2 warning signs for Puerto Ventanas that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.

A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.

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