Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE:HP) has announced that it will pay a dividend of US$0.25 per share on the 31st of August. This makes the dividend yield 3.0%, which will augment investor returns quite nicely.
Helmerich & Payne Might Find It Hard To Continue The Dividend
We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. Helmerich & Payne is not generating a profit, but its free cash flows easily cover the dividend, leaving plenty for reinvestment in the business. We generally think that cash flow is more important than accounting measures of profit, so we are fairly comfortable with the dividend at this level.
Analysts are expecting EPS to grow by 19.0% over the next 12 months. While it is good to see income moving in the right direction, it still looks like the company won't achieve profitability. The healthy cash flows are definitely a good sign though, so we wouldn't panic just yet, especially with the earnings growing.
Helmerich & Payne Has A Solid Track Record
Even over a long history of paying dividends, the company's distributions have been remarkably stable. The first annual payment during the last 10 years was US$0.24 in 2011, and the most recent fiscal year payment was US$1.00. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 15% over that duration. So, dividends have been growing pretty quickly, and even more impressively, they haven't experienced any notable falls during this period.
Dividend Growth Potential Is Shaky
Some investors will be chomping at the bit to buy some of the company's stock based on its dividend history. Unfortunately things aren't as good as they seem. Helmerich & Payne's EPS has fallen by approximately 40% per year during the past five years. Dividend payments are likely to come under some pressure unless EPS can pull out of the nosedive it is in. However, the next year is actually looking up, with earnings set to rise. We would just wait until it becomes a pattern before getting too excited.
Overall, it's nice to see a consistent dividend payment, but we think that longer term, the current level of payment might be unsustainable. The company is generating plenty of cash, but we still think the dividend is a bit high for comfort. This company is not in the top tier of income providing stocks.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. Just as an example, we've come across 2 warning signs for Helmerich & Payne you should be aware of, and 1 of them can't be ignored. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high performing dividend stock.
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