Why Dividend Hunters Love Owens Corning (NYSE:OC)

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Today we’ll take a closer look at Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) 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. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With a 1.7% yield and a five-year payment history, investors probably think Owens Corning looks like a reliable dividend stock. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 3.3% of market capitalisation this year. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Owens Corning!
NYSE:OC Historical Dividend Yield, May 3rd 2019
NYSE:OC Historical Dividend Yield, May 3rd 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. So we need to be form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Owens Corning paid out 19% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Owens Corning’s cash payout ratio in the last year was 44%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business.

Is Owens Corning’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Owens Corning has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick way to check a company’s financial situation uses these two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and 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). Owens Corning is carrying net debt of 3.15 times its EBITDA, which is getting towards the upper limit of our comfort range on a dividend stock that the investor hopes will endure a wide range of economic circumstances.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Owens Corning has EBIT of 6.43 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate.

We update our data on Owens Corning every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Owens Corning has been paying a dividend for the past five years. During the past five-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.64 in 2014, compared to US$0.88 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.6% a year over that time.

Owens Corning has been growing its dividend at a decent rate, and the payments have been stable despite the short payment history. This is a positive start.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Owens Corning has grown its earnings per share at 21% per annum over the past five years. The company is only paying out a fraction of its earnings as dividends, and in the past been able to use the retained earnings to grow its profits rapidly – an ideal combination.

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. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we’d like. Overall we think Owens Corning scores well on our analysis. It’s not quite perfect, but we’d definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 17 analysts we track are forecasting for Owens Corning for free with public 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.