DS Smith Plc (LON:SMDS) has announced that it will be increasing its dividend on the 1st of November to UK£0.10. This makes the dividend yield 5.4%, which is above the industry average.
DS Smith's Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
A big dividend yield for a few years doesn't mean much if it can't be sustained. The last dividend was quite easily covered by DS Smith's earnings. This indicates that a lot of the earnings are being reinvested into the business, with the aim of fueling growth.
Over the next year, EPS is forecast to expand by 41.9%. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we think the payout ratio could be 52% by next year, which is in a pretty sustainable range.
The company's dividend history has been marked by instability, with at least 1 cut in the last 10 years. The first annual payment during the last 10 years was UK£0.059 in 2012, and the most recent fiscal year payment was UK£0.15. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 9.8% a year over that time. We like to see dividends have grown at a reasonable rate, but with at least one substantial cut in the payments, we're not certain this dividend stock would be ideal for someone intending to live on the income.
The Dividend's Growth Prospects Are Limited
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share is growing, which could point to a growing dividend in the future. Unfortunately, DS Smith's earnings per share has been essentially flat over the past five years, which means the dividend may not be increased each year.
Our Thoughts On DS Smith's Dividend
In summary, while it's always good to see the dividend being raised, we don't think DS Smith's payments are rock solid. The company is generating plenty of cash, which could maintain the dividend for a while, but the track record hasn't been great. Overall, we don't think this company has the makings of a good income stock.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For example, we've picked out 1 warning sign for DS Smith that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock. 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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