Oil-Dri Corporation of America’s (NYSE:ODC) 2.6% Dividend Yield Looks Pretty Interesting

Is Oil-Dri Corporation of America (NYSE:ODC) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly 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 slim 2.6% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Oil-Dri Corporation of America could have potential. 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.

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NYSE:ODC Historical Dividend Yield, January 17th 2020
NYSE:ODC Historical Dividend Yield, January 17th 2020

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Oil-Dri Corporation of America paid out 48% of its profit as dividends. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Oil-Dri Corporation of America’s cash payout ratio in the last year was 38%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It’s positive to see that Oil-Dri Corporation of America’s dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note Oil-Dri Corporation of America’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

We update our data on Oil-Dri Corporation of America every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Oil-Dri Corporation of America’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$0.56 in 2010, compared to US$1.00 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 6.0% per year over this time.

Dividends have grown at a reasonable rate over this period, and without any major cuts in the payment over time, we think this is an attractive combination.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Oil-Dri Corporation of America has grown its earnings per share at 12% per annum over the past five years. A company paying out less than a quarter of its earnings as dividends, and growing earnings at more than 10% per annum, looks to be right in the cusp of its growth phase. At the right price, we might be interested.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. It’s great to see that Oil-Dri Corporation of America is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. That said, we were glad to see it growing earnings and paying a fairly consistent dividend. Oil-Dri Corporation of America has met all of our criteria, including having strong cash flow that covers the dividend. We definitely think it would be worthwhile looking closer.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Oil-Dri Corporation of America stock.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.