Is Preformed Line Products Company (NASDAQ:PLPC) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

Is Preformed Line Products Company (NASDAQ:PLPC) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.

A slim 1.6% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Preformed Line Products could have potential. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 2.4% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Preformed Line Products for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

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NasdaqGS:PLPC Historical Dividend Yield, August 12th 2019
NasdaqGS:PLPC Historical Dividend Yield, August 12th 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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Preformed Line Products paid out 17% of its profit as dividends. We’d say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Preformed Line Products paid out 82% of its cash flow last year. This may be sustainable but it does not leave much of a buffer for unexpected circumstances. It’s encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don’t drop precipitously.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Preformed Line Products’s dividend payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.80 per share, effectively flat on its first payment ten years ago.

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. Preformed Line Products has grown its earnings per share at 4.5% per annum over the past five years. As we saw above, earnings per share growth has not been strong. However, the payout ratio is low, and some companies can deliver adequate dividend performance simply by increasing the payout ratio.

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. Preformed Line Products’s dividend payout ratios are within normal bounds, although we note its cash flow is not as strong as the income statement would suggest. Second, it has a limited history of earnings per share growth, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. Overall we think Preformed Line Products is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Preformed Line Products management tenure, salary, and performance.

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.