Today we'll take a closer look at Shan-Loong Transportation Co.,Ltd (TPE:2616) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
In this case, Shan-Loong TransportationLtd likely looks attractive to investors, given its 5.6% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Shan-Loong TransportationLtd paid out 68% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift 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. Shan-Loong TransportationLtd paid out 50% of its free cash flow last year, which is acceptable, but is starting to limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested into the business. It's positive to see that Shan-Loong TransportationLtd's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Shan-Loong TransportationLtd's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut on at least one occasion historically. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was NT$1.0 in 2011, compared to NT$1.8 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 5.9% per year over this time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 5.9% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.
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
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. Shan-Loong TransportationLtd has grown its earnings per share at 6.6% per annum over the past five years. The rate at which earnings have grown is quite decent, and by paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends, the company is striking a reasonable balance between reinvestment and returns to shareholders.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Shan-Loong TransportationLtd's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Shan-Loong TransportationLtd's is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered by both reported earnings and cashflow. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. Ultimately, Shan-Loong TransportationLtd 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. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. For example, we've identified 2 warning signs for Shan-Loong TransportationLtd (1 shouldn'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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