Could Ultrafabrics Holdings Co.,Ltd. (TYO:4235) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. 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.
While Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd's 2.1% dividend yield is not the highest, we think its lengthy payment history is quite interesting. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd's yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd for its dividend - read on to learn more.
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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd paid out 480% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, from the perspective of an investor who hopes to own the company for many years, a payout ratio of above 100% is definitely a concern.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd's cash payout ratio last year was 13%. Cash flows are typically lumpy, but this looks like an appropriately conservative payout. It's disappointing to see that the dividend was not covered by profits, but cash is more important from a dividend sustainability perspective, and Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd fortunately did generate enough cash to fund its dividend. If executives were to continue paying more in dividends than the company reported in profits, we'd view this as a warning sign. Extraordinarily few companies are capable of persistently paying a dividend that is greater than their profits.
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. Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been cut on at least one occasion historically. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was JP¥7.0 in 2011, compared to JP¥28.0 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 15% a year over that time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 15% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.
Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd has grown distributions at a rapid rate despite cutting the dividend at least once in the past. Companies that cut once often cut again, but it might be worth considering if the business has turned a corner.
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? Over the past five years, it looks as though Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd's EPS have declined at around 48% a year. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.
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 not keen on the fact that Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd paid out such a high percentage of its income, although its cashflow is in better shape. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. In summary, Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for Ultrafabrics HoldingsLtd (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) you should know about.
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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