World Precision Machinery Limited (SGX:B49) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Meaning, you will need to purchase World Precision Machinery's shares before the 19th of May to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 22nd of June.
The company's upcoming dividend is CN¥0.13 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CN¥0.13 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that World Precision Machinery has a trailing yield of 7.1% on the current share price of SGD0.36. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see World Precision Machinery paying out a modest 44% of its earnings. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether World Precision Machinery generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Luckily it paid out just 20% of its free cash flow last year.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's comforting to see World Precision Machinery's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 30% per annum for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very quickly, and the company is paying out a relatively low percentage of its profit and cash flow. This is a very favourable combination that can often lead to the dividend multiplying over the long term, if earnings grow and the company pays out a higher percentage of its earnings.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. World Precision Machinery has seen its dividend decline 0.8% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see.
Is World Precision Machinery an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? World Precision Machinery has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past 10 years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example - World Precision Machinery has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.