Dividend paying stocks like China Leon Inspection Holding Limited (HKG:1586) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.
With a four-year payment history and a 3.2% yield, many investors probably find China Leon Inspection Holding intriguing. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying China Leon Inspection Holding for its dividend - read on to learn more.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, China Leon Inspection Holding paid out 30% of its profit as dividends. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
With a strong net cash balance, China Leon Inspection Holding investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of China Leon Inspection Holding's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. China Leon Inspection Holding has been paying a dividend for the past four years. It has only been paying dividends for a few short years, and the dividend has already been cut at least once. This is one income stream we're not ready to live on. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.03 in 2017, compared to CN¥0.04 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 11% per year over this time. China Leon Inspection Holding's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 11% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.
It's not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We're generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.
Dividend Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. China Leon Inspection Holding has grown its earnings per share at 6.5% per annum over the past five years. It's good to see decent earnings growth and a low payout ratio. Companies with these characteristics often display the fastest dividend growth over the long term - assuming earnings can be maintained, of course.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that China Leon Inspection Holding's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that China Leon Inspection Holding has a low and conservative payout ratio. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than China Leon Inspection Holding out there.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For example, we've picked out 2 warning signs for China Leon Inspection Holding that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
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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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