Stock Analysis

Is Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) An Attractive Dividend Stock?

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NYSE:PM
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Could Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Philip Morris International. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Philip Morris International!

historic-dividend
NYSE:PM Historic Dividend April 12th 2021

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. Philip Morris International paid out 92% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is quite a high payout ratio that suggests the dividend is not well covered by earnings.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. The company paid out 80% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is adequate, but reduces the wriggle room in the event of a downturn. While the dividend was not well covered by profits, at least they were covered by free cash flow. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Philip Morris International's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. Philip Morris International has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was US$2.3 in 2011, compared to US$4.8 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 7.5% per year over this time.

Companies like this, growing their dividend at a decent rate, can be very valuable over the long term, if the rate of growth can be maintained.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Earnings have grown at around 3.1% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! This level of earnings growth is low, and the company is paying out 92% of its profit. Limited recent earnings growth and a high payout ratio makes it hard for us to envision strong future dividend growth, unless the company should have substantial pricing power or some form of competitive advantage.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Philip Morris International's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're not keen on the fact that Philip Morris International paid out such a high percentage of its income, although its cashflow is in better shape. Earnings growth has been limited, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. Ultimately, Philip Morris International comes up short on our dividend analysis. It's not that we think it is a bad company - just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For example, we've picked out 3 warning signs for Philip Morris International that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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What are the risks and opportunities for Philip Morris International?

Philip Morris International Inc. operates as a tobacco company working to delivers a smoke-free future and evolving portfolio for the long-term to include products outside of the tobacco and nicotine sector.

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Rewards

  • Trading at 32.7% below our estimate of its fair value

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 6.59% per year

Risks

  • Has a high level of debt

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