Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Hexza Corporation Berhad (KLSE:HEXZA) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Accordingly, Hexza Corporation Berhad investors that purchase the stock on or after the 2nd of December will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 17th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be RM0.075 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed RM0.075 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Hexza Corporation Berhad has a trailing yield of approximately 6.2% on its current stock price of MYR1.2. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! As a result, readers should always check whether Hexza Corporation Berhad has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Hexza Corporation Berhad distributed an unsustainably high 148% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without extenuating circumstances, we'd consider the dividend at risk of a cut. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Hexza Corporation Berhad generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 100% of its free cash flow in the form of dividends last year, which is outside the comfort zone for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings - expenses don't pay themselves - so it's not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.
Hexza Corporation Berhad does have a large net cash position on the balance sheet, which could fund large dividends for a time, if the company so chose. Still, smart investors know that it is better to assess dividends relative to the cash and profit generated by the business. Paying dividends out of cash on the balance sheet is not long-term sustainable.
Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Hexza Corporation Berhad's payments were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we are concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Hexza Corporation Berhad's 8.7% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Hexza Corporation Berhad has lifted its dividend by approximately 4.1% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. Hexza Corporation Berhad is already paying out 148% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.
To Sum It Up
Is Hexza Corporation Berhad worth buying for its dividend? Not only are earnings per share declining, but Hexza Corporation Berhad is paying out an uncomfortably high percentage of both its earnings and cashflow to shareholders as dividends. This is a clearly suboptimal combination that usually suggests the dividend is at risk of being cut. If not now, then perhaps in the future. Bottom line: Hexza Corporation Berhad has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.
Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Hexza Corporation Berhad. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Hexza Corporation Berhad that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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