Matrix Holdings Limited (HKG:1005) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. This means that investors who purchase Matrix Holdings' shares on or after the 10th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 21st of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be HK$0.02 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of HK$0.055 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Matrix Holdings has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current share price of HK$2.7. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Matrix Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Matrix Holdings is paying out an acceptable 56% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. It distributed 45% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see Matrix Holdings's earnings per share have dropped 27% a year over the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Matrix Holdings's dividend payments per share have declined at 2.8% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. It's never nice to see earnings and dividends falling, but at least management has cut the dividend rather than potentially risk the company's health in an attempt to maintain it.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Matrix Holdings? The payout ratios are within a reasonable range, implying the dividend may be sustainable. Declining earnings are a serious concern, however, and could pose a threat to the dividend in future. Overall, it's hard to get excited about Matrix Holdings from a dividend perspective.
If you're not too concerned about Matrix Holdings's ability to pay dividends, you should still be mindful of some of the other risks that this business faces. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Matrix Holdings that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
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. 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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