SK hynix Inc. (KRX:000660) Is Yielding 0.9% - But Is It A Buy?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 30, 2021
KOSE:A000660
Source: Shutterstock

Today we'll take a closer look at SK hynix Inc. (KRX:000660) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A slim 0.9% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, SK hynix could have potential. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
KOSE:A000660 Historic Dividend April 30th 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. 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. In the last year, SK hynix paid out 17% of its profit as dividends. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. SK hynix paid out a conservative 47% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Consider getting our latest analysis on SK hynix's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. SK hynix 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 ₩150 in 2011, compared to ₩1.2k last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 23% per year over this time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 23% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of 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. SK hynix has grown its earnings per share at 3.0% per annum over the past five years. Growth has been hard to come by. However, at least the payout ratio is conservative, and there is plenty of potential to increase this over time.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. It's great to see that SK hynix is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. SK hynix has a number of positive attributes, but it falls slightly short of our (admittedly high) standards. Were there evidence of a strong moat or an attractive valuation, it could still be well worth a look.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. For instance, we've picked out 2 warning signs for SK hynix that investors should take into consideration.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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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Simply Wall St

Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.