Chorus (NZSE:CNU) Has Announced That It Will Be Increasing Its Dividend To NZ$0.17

By
Simply Wall St
Published
August 25, 2021
NZSE:CNU
Source: Shutterstock

Chorus Limited (NZSE:CNU) has announced that it will be increasing its dividend on the 12th of October to NZ$0.17. The announced payment will take the dividend yield to 4.3%, which is in line with the average for the industry.

See our latest analysis for Chorus

Chorus Is Paying Out More Than It Is Earning

We aren't too impressed by dividend yields unless they can be sustained over time. Based on the last payment, earnings were actually smaller than the dividend, and the company was actually spending more cash than it was making. This high of a dividend payment could start to put pressure on the balance sheet in the future.

EPS is set to fall by 9.6% over the next 12 months. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we believe the payout ratio could reach over 200%, which could put the dividend under pressure if earnings don't start to improve.

historic-dividend
NZSE:CNU Historic Dividend August 25th 2021

Chorus' Dividend Has Lacked Consistency

Looking back, Chorus' dividend hasn't been particularly consistent. If the company cuts once, it definitely isn't argument against the possibility of it cutting in the future. The dividend has gone from NZ$0.15 in 2012 to the most recent annual payment of NZ$0.25. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 6.2% over that duration. We like to see dividends have grown at a reasonable rate, but with at least one substantial cut in the payments, we're not certain this dividend stock would be ideal for someone intending to live on the income.

The Dividend Has Limited Growth Potential

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. Earnings per share has been sinking by 14% over the last five years. This steep decline can indicate that the business is going through a tough time, which could constrain its ability to pay a larger dividend each year in the future.

Chorus' Dividend Doesn't Look Great

Overall, while the dividend being raised can be good, there are some concerns about its long term sustainability. The company seems to be stretching itself a bit to make such big payments, but it doesn't appear they can be consistent over time. We don't think that this is a great candidate to be an income stock.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 2 warning signs for Chorus that investors need to be conscious of moving forward. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high performing dividend stock.

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