Stock Analysis

What To Know Before Buying PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited (HKG:2328) For Its Dividend

SEHK:2328
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Is PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited (HKG:2328) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend 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 PICC Property and Casualty. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding PICC Property and Casualty for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

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SEHK:2328 Historic Dividend March 29th 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. PICC Property and Casualty paid out 29% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of PICC Property and Casualty's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. PICC Property and Casualty has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.1 in 2011, compared to CN¥0.3 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.1% a year over that time. PICC Property and Casualty's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 6.1% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

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? While there may be fluctuations in the past , PICC Property and Casualty's earnings per share have basically not grown from where they were five years ago. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company's dividends could be eroded by inflation.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. We're glad to see PICC Property and Casualty has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Earnings per share are down, and PICC Property and Casualty's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. PICC Property and Casualty might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. As an example, we've identified 1 warning sign for PICC Property and Casualty that you should be aware of before investing.

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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