Is Mackinac Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:MFNC) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today we’ll take a closer look at Mackinac Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:MFNC) from a dividend investor’s perspective. Owning a strong dividend company and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Unfortunately, one common occurrence with dividend companies is for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

In this case, Mackinac Financial likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 3.0% dividend yield and six-year payment history. It sure looks interesting on these metrics – but there’s always more to the story . When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis
NasdaqCM:MFNC Historical Dividend Yield, May 6th 2019
NasdaqCM:MFNC Historical Dividend Yield, May 6th 2019

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Mackinac Financial paid out 36% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Mackinac Financial’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

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 data, we can see that Mackinac Financial has been paying a dividend for the past six years. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a while now, which is great. However we’d prefer to see consistency for a few more years before giving it our full seal of approval. During the past six-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.16 in 2013, compared to US$0.48 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 20% a year over that time.

We’re not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient’s purchasing power. Over the past five years, it looks as though Mackinac Financial’s EPS have declined at around 0.1% a year. A slight decline in earnings per share may not be a huge immediate concern. However, the best dividend stocks are all able to generate earnings growth over the long term.

We’d also point out that Mackinac Financial issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental – it’s hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Mackinac Financial’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 glad to see Mackinac Financial has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and the dividend history is shorter than we’d like. Mackinac Financial might not be a bad business, but it doesn’t show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Mackinac Financial stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.