Maxigen Biotech Inc. (TPE:1783) Is Yielding 2.3% - But Is It A Buy?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 22, 2021
TWSE:1783

Could Maxigen Biotech Inc. (TPE:1783) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

Some readers mightn't know much about Maxigen Biotech's 2.3% dividend, as it has only been paying distributions for the last three years. Many of the best dividend stocks typically start out paying a low yield, so we wouldn't automatically cut it from our list of prospects. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Maxigen Biotech's yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Maxigen Biotech for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
TSEC:1783 Historic Dividend April 22nd 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. Maxigen Biotech paid out 89% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. It's paying out most of its earnings, which limits the amount that can be reinvested in the business. This may indicate limited need for further capital within the business, or highlight a commitment to paying a dividend.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. The company paid out 86% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is adequate, but reduces the wriggle room in the event of a downturn. 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.

With a strong net cash balance, Maxigen Biotech investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Maxigen Biotech's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we'd like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was NT$0.2 in 2018, compared to NT$0.8 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 75% per year over this time.

Maxigen Biotech has been growing its dividend quite rapidly, which is exciting. However, the short payment history makes us question whether this performance will persist across a full market cycle.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Maxigen Biotech has grown its earnings per share at 60% per annum over the past five years. The company pays out most of its earnings as dividends, although with such rapid EPS growth, its possible the dividend is better covered than it looks. Still, we'd be cautious about extrapolating high growth too far out into the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Maxigen Biotech's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Maxigen Biotech's is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered by both reported earnings and cashflow. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. Ultimately, Maxigen Biotech comes up short on our dividend analysis. It's not that we think it is a bad company - just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For instance, we've picked out 4 warning signs for Maxigen Biotech that investors should take into consideration.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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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