Stock Analysis

Does MedFirst Healthcare Services, Inc. (GTSM:4175) Have A Place In Your Dividend Stock Portfolio?

TPEX:4175
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Is MedFirst Healthcare Services, Inc. (GTSM:4175) 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.

With a 2.9% yield and a eight-year payment history, investors probably think MedFirst Healthcare Services looks like a reliable dividend stock. A 2.9% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying MedFirst Healthcare Services for its dividend - read on to learn more.

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historic-dividend
GTSM:4175 Historic Dividend April 16th 2021

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. 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. In the last year, MedFirst Healthcare Services paid out 59% 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.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. MedFirst Healthcare Services paid out 129% of its free cash flow last year, which we think is concerning if cash flows do not improve. While MedFirst Healthcare Services' dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, free cash flow 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 MedFirst Healthcare Services to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

Consider getting our latest analysis on MedFirst Healthcare Services' financial position here.

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 last decade of data, we can see that MedFirst Healthcare Services paid its first dividend at least eight years ago. It's good to see that MedFirst Healthcare Services 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 eight-year period, the first annual payment was NT$0.9 in 2013, compared to NT$2.1 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10% a year over that 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.

It's not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We're generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Over the past five years, it looks as though MedFirst Healthcare Services' EPS have declined at around 5.1% a year. Declining earnings per share over a number of years is not a great sign for the dividend investor. Without some improvement, this does not bode well for the long term value of a company's dividend.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. First, we think MedFirst Healthcare Services has an acceptable payout ratio, although its dividend was not well covered by cashflow. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. Using these criteria, MedFirst Healthcare Services looks quite suboptimal from a dividend investment perspective.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 4 warning signs for MedFirst Healthcare Services that investors need to be conscious of moving forward.

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