Should Alumetal S.A. (WSE:AML) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

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Could Alumetal S.A. (WSE:AML) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. 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 goodly-sized dividend yield despite a relatively short payment history, investors might be wondering if Alumetal is a new dividend aristocrat in the making. It sure looks interesting on these metrics – but there’s always more to the story . When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

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WSE:AML Historical Dividend Yield, June 3rd 2019
WSE:AML Historical Dividend Yield, June 3rd 2019

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Alumetal paid out 99% of its profit as dividends. Its payout ratio is quite high, and the dividend is not well covered by earnings. If earnings are growing or the company has a large cash balance, this might be sustainable – still, we think it is a concern.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Alumetal paid out 50% of its free cash flow last year, which is acceptable, but is starting to limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested into the business. It’s good to see that while Alumetal’s dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a free cash flow perspective. Even so, if the company were to continue paying out almost all of its profits, we’d be concerned about whether the dividend is sustainable in a downturn.

Is Alumetal’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Alumetal’s dividend was not well covered by earnings, we need to check its balance sheet for signs of financial distress. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company’s total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments on debt. Essentially we check that a) a company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 0.77 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), Alumetal has an acceptable level of debt.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. Alumetal has interest cover of more than 12 times its interest expense, which we think is quite strong.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Alumetal’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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 data, we can see that Alumetal has been paying a dividend for the past four years. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can’t be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was zł1.95 in 2015, compared to zł4.08 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 20% a year over that time.

Alumetal has been growing its dividend quite rapidly, which is exciting. However, the short payment history makes us question whether this performance will persist across a full market cycle.

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. It’s good to see Alumetal has been growing its earnings per share at 12% a year over the past 5 years. Although earnings per share are up nicely Alumetal is paying out 99% of its earnings as dividends, which we feel is borderline unsustainable without extenuating circumstances.

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. We’re not keen on the fact that Alumetal paid out such a high percentage of its income, although its cashflow is in better shape. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we’d like. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Alumetal from a dividend perspective. It’s not that we think it’s a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for Alumetal for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 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.