Is Richardson Electronics, Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:RELL) 4.3% Dividend Worth Your Time?

Today we’ll take a closer look at Richardson Electronics, Ltd. (NASDAQ:RELL) from a dividend investor’s perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. 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 Richardson Electronics. 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.

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NasdaqGS:RELL Historical Dividend Yield, January 22nd 2020
NasdaqGS:RELL Historical Dividend Yield, January 22nd 2020

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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Although it reported a loss over the past 12 months, Richardson Electronics currently pays a dividend. When a company recently reported a loss, we should investigate if its cash flows covered the dividend.

Last year, Richardson Electronics paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

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

We update our data on Richardson Electronics every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. Richardson Electronics 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 ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.08 in 2010, compared to US$0.24 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 12% a year over that time.

With rapid dividend growth and no notable cuts to the dividend over a lengthy period of time, we think this company has a lot going for it.

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 Richardson Electronics has been growing its earnings per share at 17% a year 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

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. We’re a bit uncomfortable with Richardson Electronics paying a dividend while loss-making, especially since the dividend was also not well covered by free cash flow. We like that it has been delivering solid improvement in its earnings per share, and relatively consistent dividend payments. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Richardson Electronics out there.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Richardson Electronics stock.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 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.