Is Manutan International SA (EPA:MAN) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

Today we’ll take a closer look at Manutan International SA (EPA:MAN) 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. Unfortunately, it’s common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

A 2.4% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Manutan International has some staying power. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Manutan International for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

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ENXTPA:MAN Historical Dividend Yield, August 26th 2019
ENXTPA:MAN Historical Dividend Yield, August 26th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. In the last year, Manutan International paid out 30% of its profit as dividends. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. The company paid out 71% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash Manutan International has available to meet other needs. It’s positive to see that Manutan International’s dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Manutan International’s dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €1.52 in 2009, compared to €1.65 last year. Its dividends have grown at less than 1% per annum over this time frame.

We’re glad to see the dividend has risen, but with a limited rate of growth and fluctuations in the payments, we don’t think this is an attractive combination.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? It’s good to see Manutan International has been growing its earnings per share at 12% a year over the past 5 years. A company paying out less than a quarter of its earnings as dividends, and growing earnings at more than 10% per annum, looks to be right in the cusp of its growth phase. At the right price, we might be interested.

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. Above all, we’re glad to see that Manutan International pays out a low fraction of its earnings and, while it paid a higher percentage of cashflow, this also was within a normal range. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to generate earnings per share growth, and cut its dividend at least once in the past. Manutan International has a number of positive attributes, but it falls slightly short of our (admittedly high) standards. Were there evidence of a strong moat or an attractive valuation, it could still be well worth a look.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 3 analysts we track are forecasting for Manutan International for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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