How Does Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ:NDSN) Stand Up To These Simple Dividend Safety Checks?

Could Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ:NDSN) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to a company for its dividend. 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.

A slim 1.0% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Nordson could have potential. It also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 1.4% of the company’s market capitalisation at the time. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insight when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Nordson!
NasdaqGS:NDSN Historical Dividend Yield, April 21st 2019
NasdaqGS:NDSN Historical Dividend Yield, April 21st 2019

Payout ratios

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Nordson paid out 23% of its profit as dividends. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Nordson paid out 20% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable.

Is Nordson’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Nordson 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 a company’s total debt load relative to its earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the company’s ability to pay the interest on its debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). Nordson has net debt of 2.26 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA). Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Net interest cover of 9.50 times its interest expense appears reasonable for Nordson, although we’re conscious that even high interest cover doesn’t make a company bulletproof.

We update our data on Nordson 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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Nordson’s dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.37 in 2009, compared to US$1.40 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 14% a year over that time.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Earnings have grown at around 9.9% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! With a decent amount of growth and a low payout ratio, we think this bodes well for Nordson’s prospects of growing its dividend payments in the future.

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. First, we like that the company’s dividend payments appear well covered, although the retained capital also needs to be effectively reinvested. Earnings growth has been limited, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. Nordson performs well under this analysis, although it falls slightly short in some key areas. At the right valuation though, it may still be an interesting prospect.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 10 Nordson analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.