Are Dividend Investors Making A Mistake With Aena S.M.E., S.A. (BME:AENA)?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 15, 2020
BME:AENA

Dividend paying stocks like Aena S.M.E., S.A. (BME:AENA) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested 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.

In this case, Aena S.M.E likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 5.4% dividend yield and five-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Aena S.M.E for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
BME:AENA Historic Dividend November 16th 2020

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 515% of Aena S.M.E's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. With a cash payout ratio of 6,882%, Aena S.M.E's dividend payments are poorly covered by cash flow. Paying out such a high percentage of cash flow suggests that the dividend was funded from either cash at bank or by borrowing, neither of which is desirable over the long term. As Aena S.M.E's dividend was not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would be concerned that this dividend could be at risk over the long term.

We update our data on Aena S.M.E every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. Aena S.M.E has been paying a dividend for the past five years. During the past five-year period, the first annual payment was €2.7 in 2015, compared to €7.6 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 23% a year over that time.

Aena S.M.E has been growing its dividend quite rapidly, which is exciting. However, the short payment history makes us question whether this performance will persist across a full market cycle.

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. Over the past five years, it looks as though Aena S.M.E's EPS have declined at around 14% a year. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Aena S.M.E's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

Conclusion

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 Aena S.M.E paying out a high percentage of both its cashflow and earnings. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and the dividend history is shorter than we'd like. There are a few too many issues for us to get comfortable with Aena S.M.E from a dividend perspective. Businesses can change, but we would struggle to identify why an investor should rely on this stock for their income.

It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Just as an example, we've come accross 4 warning signs for Aena S.M.E you should be aware of, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield 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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