Is Morses Club PLC (LON:MCL) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

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Could Morses Club PLC (LON:MCL) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the 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.

Morses Club yields a solid 5.6%, although it has only been paying for two years. A 5.6% yield does look good. Could the short payment history hint at future dividend growth? Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.

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AIM:MCL Historical Dividend Yield, July 3rd 2019
AIM:MCL Historical Dividend Yield, July 3rd 2019

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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 62% of Morses Club’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a fairly normal payout ratio among most businesses. It allows a higher dividend to be paid to shareholders, but does limit the capital retained in the business – which could be good or bad.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. During the past two-year period, the first annual payment was UK£0.064 in 2017, compared to UK£0.078 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 10% per year over this time.

Morses Club 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

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Morses Club has grown its earnings per share at 23% per annum over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 62%, this business looks like an interesting prospect if earnings are reinvested effectively.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Morses Club’s payout ratio is within an average range for most market participants. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we’d like. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Morses Club out there.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 7 analysts we track are forecasting for Morses Club for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.