Is B&G Foods, Inc.’s (NYSE:BGS) 7.4% Dividend Worth Your Time?

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Is B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE:BGS) a good dividend stock? How would you know? A dividend paying company with growing earnings can be rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for B&G Foods. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 1.7% of market capitalisation this year. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on B&G Foods!
NYSE:BGS Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019
NYSE:BGS Historical Dividend Yield, May 1st 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to be 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 72% of B&G Foods’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. The company paid out 74%, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash B&G Foods has available to meet other needs.

Is B&G Foods’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As B&G Foods 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). B&G Foods has net debt of 5.27 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) which implies meaningful risk if interest rates rise of earnings decline.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Interest cover of less than 5x its interest expense is starting to become a concern for B&G Foods, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well. Low interest cover and high debt can create problems right when the investor least needs them. We’re generally reluctant to rely on the dividend of companies with these traits.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of B&G Foods’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of B&G Foods’s dividend payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.68 in 2009, compared to US$1.90 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 11% per year over this 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. It’s good to see B&G Foods has been growing its earnings per share at 21% a year over the past 5 years. Earnings per share are sharply up, but we wonder if paying out more than half its earnings (leaving less for reinvestment) is an implicit signal that B&G Foods’s growth will be slower in the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that B&G Foods’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we think B&G Foods is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. We like that it has been delivering solid earnings growth and relatively consistent dividend payments. Overall we think B&G Foods is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 6 B&G Foods analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

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.