Should You Buy publity AG (ETR:PBY) For Its Dividend?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 20, 2019
XTRA:PBY

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Could publity AG (ETR:PBY) 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 stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

publity yields a solid 4.4%, although it has only been paying for three years. A 4.4% yield does look good. Could the short payment history hint at future dividend growth? Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, publity's yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

XTRA:PBY Historical Dividend Yield, June 20th 2019
XTRA:PBY Historical Dividend Yield, June 20th 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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. publity paid out 69% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a fairly normal payout ratio among most businesses. It allows a higher dividend to be paid to shareholders, but does limit the capital retained in the business - which could be good or bad.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of publity'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. This company's dividend has been unstable, and with a relatively short history, we think it's a little soon to draw strong conclusions about its long term dividend potential. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was €2.00 in 2016, compared to €1.50 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 9.1% per year over that time. publity's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 9.1% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either the business or management. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see publity has grown its earnings per share at 32% per annum over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 69%, this business looks like an interesting prospect if earnings are reinvested effectively.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. publity's payout ratio is within normal bounds. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. publity might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in publity stock.

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

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