Readers hoping to buy Hebei Construction Group Corporation Limited (HKG:1727) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Hebei Construction Group's shares before the 10th of June to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of July.
The company's next dividend payment will be CN¥0.14 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of CN¥0.14 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Hebei Construction Group stock has a trailing yield of around 6.0% on the current share price of HK$2.82. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately Hebei Construction Group's payout ratio is modest, at just 32% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It distributed 34% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's positive to see that Hebei Construction Group'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.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That explains why we're not overly excited about Hebei Construction Group's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Hebei Construction Group's dividend payments per share have declined at 32% per year on average over the past two years, which is uninspiring.
To Sum It Up
Is Hebei Construction Group worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been flat, although at least the company is paying out a low and conservative percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's definitely not great to see earnings falling, but at least there may be some buffer before the dividend gets cut. It might be worth researching if the company is reinvesting in growth projects that could grow earnings and dividends in the future, but for now we're not all that optimistic on its dividend prospects.
In light of that, while Hebei Construction Group has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. Be aware that Hebei Construction Group is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable...
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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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. 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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