Readers hoping to buy VINCI SA (EPA:DG) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Investors can purchase shares before the 20th of April in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 22nd of April.
VINCI's next dividend payment will be €2.04 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of €2.04 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that VINCI has a trailing yield of 2.3% on the current share price of €89.82. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Last year, VINCI paid out 92% of its income as dividends, which is above a level that we're comfortable with, especially if the company needs to reinvest in its business. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. The good news is it paid out just 15% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's good to see that while VINCI's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see VINCI's earnings per share have dropped 9.6% a year over the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, VINCI has increased its dividend at approximately 2.3% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. VINCI is already paying out 92% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.
The Bottom Line
Should investors buy VINCI for the upcoming dividend? It's not a great combination to see a company with earnings in decline and paying out 92% of its profits, which could imply the dividend may be at risk of being cut in the future. 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 VINCI despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for VINCI you should be aware of.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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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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