Today we'll take a closer look at Dacome International Ltd. (GTSM:9960) 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. 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.
Investors might not know much about Dacome International's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last nine years and offers a 2.9% yield. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Dacome International for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.
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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Dacome International paid out 97% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Its payout ratio is quite high, and the dividend is not well covered by earnings. If earnings are growing or the company has a large cash balance, this might be sustainable - still, we think it is a concern.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Dacome International paid out a conservative 28% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. It's good to see that while Dacome International's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a free cash flow perspective. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.
With a strong net cash balance, Dacome International investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Dacome International's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Dacome International paid its first dividend at least nine years ago. It's good to see that Dacome International 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 nine-year period, the first annual payment was NT$1.0 in 2011, compared to NT$0.8 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 2.0% per year over that time. Dacome International's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 2.0% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.
A shrinking dividend over a nine-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.
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? Dacome International has grown its earnings per share at 5.4% per annum over the past five years. Although per-share earnings are growing at a credible rate, virtually all of the income is being paid out as dividends to shareholders. This is okay, but may limit growth in the company's future dividend payments.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Dacome International's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're a bit uncomfortable with its high payout ratio, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Dacome International out there.
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 instance, we've picked out 2 warning signs for Dacome International 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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