Apetit Oyj (HEL:APETIT) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Apetit Oyj's shares on or after the 31st of May, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 8th of June.
The company's next dividend payment will be €0.50 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of €0.50 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Apetit Oyj has a trailing yield of approximately 3.4% on its current stock price of €14.75. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Last year Apetit Oyj paid out 100% of its profits as dividends to shareholders, suggesting the dividend is not well covered by earnings. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. The good news is it paid out just 15% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's disappointing to see that the dividend was not covered by profits, but cash is more important from a dividend sustainability perspective, and Apetit Oyj fortunately did generate enough cash to fund its dividend. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we'd be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Apetit Oyj's earnings per share have fallen at approximately 6.0% a year over the previous five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Apetit Oyj has seen its dividend decline 5.7% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. While it's not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we're encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.
To Sum It Up
Is Apetit Oyj an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's never great to see earnings per share declining, especially when a company is paying out 100% of its profit as dividends, which we feel is uncomfortably high. However, the cash payout ratio was much lower - good news from a dividend perspective - which makes us wonder why there is such a mis-match between income and cashflow. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.
So if you're still interested in Apetit Oyj despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for Apetit Oyj and you should be aware of this before buying any shares.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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