Don't Buy Saudi Telecom Company (TADAWUL:7010) For Its Next Dividend Without Doing These Checks

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 08, 2022
SASE:7010
Source: Shutterstock

Saudi Telecom Company (TADAWUL:7010) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in three days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Accordingly, Saudi Telecom investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of May will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of May.

The company's upcoming dividend is ر.س1.00 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of ر.س4.00 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Saudi Telecom stock has a trailing yield of around 3.4% on the current share price of SAR116. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for Saudi Telecom

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Saudi Telecom paid out more than half (71%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. Over the last year, it paid out dividends equivalent to 331% of what it generated in free cash flow, a disturbingly high percentage. Our definition of free cash flow excludes cash generated from asset sales, so since Saudi Telecom is paying out such a high percentage of its cash flow, it might be worth seeing if it sold assets or had similar events that might have led to such a high dividend payment.

While Saudi Telecom's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were Saudi Telecom to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividend
SASE:7010 Historic Dividend May 8th 2022

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Saudi Telecom, with earnings per share up 4.9% on average over the last five years. Earnings have been growing somewhat, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Saudi Telecom has delivered 7.2% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

To Sum It Up

Is Saudi Telecom worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have grown somewhat, although Saudi Telecom paid out over half its profits and the dividend was not well covered by free cash flow. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of Saudi Telecom.

Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Saudi Telecom. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for Saudi Telecom and you should be aware of this before buying any shares.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.