Today we'll take a closer look at DBS Group Holdings Ltd (SGX:D05) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for DBS Group Holdings. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying DBS Group Holdings for its dividend - read on to learn more.
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. In the last year, DBS Group Holdings paid out 53% of its profit as dividends. This is a fairly normal payout ratio among most businesses. It allows a higher dividend to be paid to shareholders, but does limit the capital retained in the business - which could be good or bad.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of DBS Group Holdings' latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of DBS Group Holdings' dividend payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was S$0.6 in 2010, compared to S$0.7 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 2.5% per year over this time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.
Modest growth in the dividend is good to see, but we think this is offset by historical cuts to the payments. It is hard to live on a dividend income if the company's earnings are not consistent.
Dividend Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Earnings have grown at around 5.6% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share are growing at an acceptable rate, although the company is paying out more than half of its profits, which we think could constrain its ability to reinvest in its business.
We'd also point out that DBS Group Holdings issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental - it's hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that DBS Group Holdings' dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we think DBS Group Holdings has an acceptable payout ratio. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. In summary, we're unenthused by DBS Group Holdings as a dividend stock. It's not that we think it is a bad company; it simply falls short of our criteria in some key areas.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for DBS Group Holdings (of which 1 is significant!) you should know about.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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