Could McKesson Europe AG (HMSE:CLS1) 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. 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.
In this case, McKesson Europe pays a decent-sized 3.2% dividend yield, and has been distributing cash to shareholders for the past three years. A 3.2% yield does look good. Could the short payment history hint at future dividend growth? There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying McKesson Europe for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.
Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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. Although it reported a loss over the past 12 months, McKesson Europe currently pays a dividend. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of McKesson Europe's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. 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 €0.8 per share, effectively flat on its first payment three years ago.
We like that the dividend hasn't been shrinking. However we're conscious that the company hasn't got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.
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. McKesson Europe has grown its EPS 81% over the past 12 months. It's good to see earnings per share rising, but one year is too short a period to get excited about. Were this trend to continue, we'd be interested. We do note though, one year is too short a time to be drawing strong conclusions about a company's future prospects.
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. We're a bit uncomfortable with it paying a dividend while reporting a loss over the past year. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. McKesson Europe might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. To that end, McKesson Europe has 3 warning signs (and 2 which are significant) we think 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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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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