Should Aperam S.A. (AMS:APAM) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Could Aperam S.A. (AMS:APAM) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to a company for its dividend. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With a eight-year payment history and a 6.4% yield, many investors probably find Aperam intriguing. We’d agree the yield does look enticing. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 3.1% of market capitalisation this year. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis
ENXTAM:APAM Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019
ENXTAM:APAM Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 52% of Aperam’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Aperam paid out 126% of its free cash flow last year, which we think is a risk if cash flows do not improve.

We update our data on Aperam every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Aperam paid its first dividend at least eight years ago. The dividend has been quite stable over the past eight years, which is great to see – although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past eight-year period, the first annual payment was €0.50 in 2011, compared to €1.75 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 17% per year over this time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient’s purchasing power. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Aperam has grown its earnings per share at 41% per annum over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 52%, this business could be an interesting prospect if growth can be maintained.

Conclusion

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. First, the company has a payout ratio that was within an average range for most dividend stocks, but it paid out virtually all of its generated cash flow. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we’d like. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Aperam out there.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 12 Aperam analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.