Is Sahara International Petrochemical Company (TADAWUL:2310) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.
Investors might not know much about Sahara International Petrochemical's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last nine years and offers a 1.8% yield. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Sahara International Petrochemical's yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.
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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 207% of Sahara International Petrochemical's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.
We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Sahara International Petrochemical paid out a conservative 33% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. It's good to see that while Sahara International Petrochemical's dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. If executives were to continue paying more in dividends than the company reported in profits, we'd view this as a warning sign. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Sahara International Petrochemical's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Sahara International Petrochemical paid its first dividend at least nine years ago. It's good to see that Sahara International Petrochemical has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was ر.س1.3 in 2012, compared to ر.س0.5 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 9.7% per year over that time. Sahara International Petrochemical's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 9.7% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.
A shrinking dividend over a nine-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.
Dividend Growth Potential
Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. Over the past five years, it looks as though Sahara International Petrochemical's EPS have declined at around 21% a year. A sharp decline in earnings per share is not great from from a dividend perspective, as even conservative payout ratios can come under pressure if earnings fall far enough.
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 a bit uncomfortable with its high payout ratio, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Earnings per share are down, and Sahara International Petrochemical's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. Overall, Sahara International Petrochemical falls short in several key areas here. Unless the investor has strong grounds for an alternative conclusion, we find it hard to get interested in a dividend stock with these characteristics.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. To that end, Sahara International Petrochemical has 5 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit concerning) we think you should know about.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
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