Is Nanyang Holdings Limited (HKG:212) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.
A slim 2.8% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Nanyang Holdings could have potential. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 1.8% of the company’s market capitalisation at the time. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Nanyang Holdings for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 13% of Nanyang Holdings’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. We’d say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.
We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Unfortunately, while Nanyang Holdings pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it’s not ideal from a dividend perspective.
While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note Nanyang Holdings’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.
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 Nanyang Holdings’s dividend payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.20 in 2009, compared to HK$1.40 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 21% per year over this time. The dividends haven’t grown at precisely 21% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.
So, its dividends have grown at a rapid rate over this time, but payments have been cut in the past. The stock may still be worth considering as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.
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? Nanyang Holdings has grown its earnings per share at 7.0% per annum over the past five years. A low payout ratio and strong historical earnings growth suggests Nanyang Holdings has been effectively reinvesting in its business. We think this generally bodes well for its dividend prospects.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Nanyang Holdings’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Nanyang Holdings has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Nanyang Holdings from a dividend perspective. It’s not that we think it’s a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.
Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Nanyang Holdings management tenure, salary, and performance.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.