Stock Analysis

Compass Group's (LON:CPG) Shareholders Will Receive A Bigger Dividend Than Last Year

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LSE:CPG
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Compass Group PLC's (LON:CPG) dividend will be increasing from last year's payment of the same period to £0.221 on 2nd of March. This takes the annual payment to 1.7% of the current stock price, which is about average for the industry.

Our analysis indicates that CPG is potentially undervalued!

Compass Group's Dividend Is Well Covered By Earnings

We like to see a healthy dividend yield, but that is only helpful to us if the payment can continue. Based on the last payment, Compass Group was quite comfortably earning enough to cover the dividend. This indicates that quite a large proportion of earnings is being invested back into the business.

The next year is set to see EPS grow by 65.5%. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio will be 28%, which is in the range that makes us comfortable with the sustainability of the dividend.

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LSE:CPG Historic Dividend November 24th 2022

Dividend Volatility

The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. The dividend has gone from an annual total of £0.221 in 2012 to the most recent total annual payment of £0.315. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 3.6% per annum over that time. We're glad to see the dividend has risen, but with a limited rate of growth and fluctuations in the payments the total shareholder return may be limited.

Compass Group May Find It Hard To Grow The Dividend

Growing earnings per share could be a mitigating factor when considering the past fluctuations in the dividend. It's not great to see that Compass Group's earnings per share has fallen at approximately 2.3% per year over the past five years. If earnings continue declining, the company may have to make the difficult choice of reducing the dividend or even stopping it completely - the opposite of dividend growth. Earnings are predicted to grow over the next year, but we would remain cautious until a track record of earnings growth is established.

In Summary

In summary, while it's always good to see the dividend being raised, we don't think Compass Group's payments are rock solid. The payments haven't been particularly stable and we don't see huge growth potential, but with the dividend well covered by cash flows it could prove to be reliable over the short term. This company is not in the top tier of income providing stocks.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. Without at least some growth in earnings per share over time, the dividend will eventually come under pressure either from competition or inflation. See if the 20 analysts are forecasting a turnaround in our free collection of analyst estimates here. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high yield dividend stocks.

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