The board of Aalberts N.V. (AMS:AALB) has announced that it will be increasing its dividend on the 1st of July to €1.65. This will take the dividend yield from 2.4% to 4.0%, providing a nice boost to shareholder returns.
Aalberts' Dividend Is Well Covered By Earnings
If the payments aren't sustainable, a high yield for a few years won't matter that much. However, prior to this announcement, Aalberts was quite comfortably covering its dividend with earnings and it was paying more than 75% of its free cash flow to shareholders. However, with more than 75% of free cash flow being paid out to shareholders, future growth could potentially be constrained.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to fall by 12.0% over the next year. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio could be 62%, which we consider to be quite comfortable, with most of the company's earnings left over to grow the business in the future.
The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. The dividend has gone from €0.34 in 2012 to the most recent annual payment of €1.01. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 12% over that duration. It is great to see strong growth in the dividend payments, but cuts are concerning as it may indicate the payout policy is too ambitious.
The Dividend Looks Likely To Grow
Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. It's encouraging to see Aalberts has been growing its earnings per share at 15% a year over the past five years. Growth in EPS bodes well for the dividend, as does the low payout ratio that the company is currently reporting.
Overall, we always like to see the dividend being raised, but we don't think Aalberts will make a great income stock. The company hasn't been paying a very consistent dividend over time, despite only paying out a small portion of earnings. We don't think Aalberts is a great stock to add to your portfolio if income is your focus.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. 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 3 warning signs for Aalberts that investors should take into consideration. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our collection of strong dividend payers.
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