Stock Analysis

Should You Buy Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co S.A. (ATH:EYAPS) For Its Dividend?

ATSE:EYAPS
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Today we'll take a closer look at Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co S.A. (ATH:EYAPS) 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. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
ATSE:EYAPS Historic Dividend May 7th 2021

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co paid out 68% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. 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.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co paid out 63% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It's positive to see that Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co'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.

With a strong net cash balance, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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 Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co's dividend payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having been cut one or more times over this time. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was €0.1 in 2011, compared to €0.2 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.9% a year over that time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.

A reasonable rate of dividend growth is good to see, but we're wary that the dividend history is not as solid as we'd like, having been cut at least once.

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? In the last five years, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co's earnings per share have shrunk at approximately 2.5% per annum. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co's is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered by both reported earnings and cashflow. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. With this information in mind, we think Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co may not be an ideal dividend stock.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Just as an example, we've come accross 2 warning signs for Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage Co you should be aware of, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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