Is The Sandesh Limited (NSE:SANDESH) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.
While Sandesh's 1.1% dividend yield is not the highest, we think its lengthy payment history is quite interesting. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
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. 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. Sandesh paid out 6.2% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively 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. Last year, Sandesh paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.
While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note Sandesh's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.
We update our data on Sandesh every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
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 Sandesh's dividend payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was ₹3.0 in 2010, compared to ₹5.0 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 5.2% per year over this time.
Dividends have grown at a reasonable rate over this period, and without any major cuts in the payment over time, we think this is an attractive combination.
Dividend Growth Potential
While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Sandesh's EPS are effectively flat over the past five years. 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. As we saw above, earnings per share growth has not been strong. However, the payout ratio is low, and some companies can deliver adequate dividend performance simply by increasing the payout ratio.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Sandesh's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, the company has a conservative payout ratio, although we'd note that its cashflow in the past year was substantially lower than its reported profit. Earnings per share have not been growing, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Sandesh 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.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. To that end, Sandesh has 3 warning signs (and 2 which are potentially serious) we think you should know about.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 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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