Dividend paying stocks like Preferred Bank (NASDAQ:PFBC) 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. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.
Investors might not know much about Preferred Bank's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last six years and offers a 2.3% 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. During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 1.4% of its market capitalisation. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Preferred Bank's yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 26% of Preferred Bank'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.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Preferred Bank's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. Preferred Bank 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$0.4 in 2015, compared to US$1.2 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
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 Preferred Bank has grown its earnings per share at 17% per annum over the past five years. A company paying out less than a quarter of its earnings as dividends, and growing earnings at more than 10% per annum, looks to be right in the cusp of its growth phase. At the right price, we might be interested.
Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Firstly, we like that Preferred Bank has a low and conservative payout ratio. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. Overall we think Preferred Bank is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.
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 picked out 3 warning signs for Preferred Bank that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock.
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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Preferred Bank provides various commercial banking products and services to small and mid-sized businesses and their owners, entrepreneurs, real estate developers and investors, professionals, and high net worth individuals in the United States.
Very undervalued with outstanding track record.