Today we'll take a closer look at Prosegur Cash, S.A. (BME:CASH) 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. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
Prosegur Cash yields a solid 8.3%, although it has only been paying for three years. A 8.3% yield does look good. Could the short payment history hint at future dividend growth? When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Prosegur Cash paid out 79% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Paying out a majority of its earnings limits the amount that can be reinvested in the business. This may indicate a commitment to paying a dividend, or a dearth of investment opportunities.
Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Prosegur Cash's cash payout ratio in the last year was 35%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. 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.
Consider getting our latest analysis on Prosegur Cash's financial position here.
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. It has only been paying dividends for a few short years, and the dividend has already been cut at least once. This is one income stream we're not ready to live on. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was €0.07 in 2017, compared to €0.06 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 6.7% per year over that time. Prosegur Cash's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 6.7% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.
A shrinking dividend over a three-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.
Dividend Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, and a poor history of shrinking dividends, it's even more important to see if EPS are growing. Prosegur Cash's earnings per share have shrunk at 23% a year over the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Prosegur Cash's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.
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. First, we think Prosegur Cash has an acceptable payout ratio and its dividend is well covered by cashflow. Earnings per share are down, and Prosegur Cash's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Prosegur Cash from a dividend perspective. It's not that we think it's a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. For instance, we've picked out 2 warning signs for Prosegur Cash that investors should take into consideration.
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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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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