Is Sweeten Real Estate Development Co.,Ltd.’s (TPE:5525) 2.3% Dividend Sustainable?

Dividend paying stocks like Sweeten Real Estate Development Co.,Ltd. (TPE:5525) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.

A slim 2.3% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd could have potential. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd!

historic-dividend
TSEC:5525 Historic Dividend August 1st 2020

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 43% of Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Unfortunately, while Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it’s not ideal from a dividend perspective.

Is Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd has net debt of 14.90 times its EBITDA, which we think carries substantial risk if earnings aren’t sustainable.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd has EBIT of 8.61 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate. Despite a decent level of interest cover, shareholders should remain cautious about the high level of net debt. Rising rates or tighter debt markets have a nasty habit of making fools of highly-indebted dividend stocks.

We update our data on Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of 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 NT$0.2 in 2010, compared to NT$0.5 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 7.9% 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.

Dividends have grown at a reasonable rate, but with at least one substantial cut in the payments, we’re not certain this dividend stock would be ideal for someone intending to live on the income.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing – it’s not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd’s EPS have fallen by approximately 14% per year during the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd’s earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

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. Firstly, the company has a conservative payout ratio, although we’d note that its cashflow in the past year was substantially lower than its reported profit. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and its dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Overall, Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd falls short in several key areas here. Unless the investor has strong grounds for an alternative conclusion, we find it hard to get interested in a dividend stock with these characteristics.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. For example, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Sweeten Real Estate DevelopmentLtd (1 can’t be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing.

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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