How Does Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) Stand Up To These Simple Dividend Safety Checks?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 07, 2021
NasdaqGS:INTC
Source: Shutterstock

Dividend paying stocks like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

A 2.2% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Intel has some staying power. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 5.4% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Intel for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Intel!

historic-dividend
NasdaqGS:INTC Historic Dividend March 8th 2021

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 form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Intel paid out 27% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Intel paid out a conservative 27% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. It's positive to see that Intel'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.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Intel's financial position here.

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. Intel 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$0.6 in 2011, compared to US$1.3 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 7.7% a year over that time.

Businesses that can grow their dividends at a decent rate and maintain a stable payout can generate substantial wealth for shareholders over the long term.

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 Intel has grown its earnings per share at 16% 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

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Intel's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It's great to see that Intel 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. Overall, we think there are a lot of positives to Intel from a dividend perspective.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For example, we've identified 2 warning signs for Intel (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing.

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

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