KSH Holdings Limited (SGX:ER0) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 20th of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of November.
KSH Holdings's upcoming dividend is S$0.01 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of S$0.022 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that KSH Holdings has a trailing yield of 4.7% on the current share price of SGD0.47. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. KSH Holdings paid out 110% of its earnings, which is more than we're comfortable with, unless there are mitigating circumstances. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether KSH Holdings generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It distributed 49% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's disappointing to see that the dividend was not covered by profits, but cash is more important from a dividend sustainability perspective, and KSH Holdings fortunately did generate enough cash to fund its dividend. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we'd be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see KSH Holdings's earnings per share have dropped 24% a year over the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. KSH Holdings has delivered 2.9% dividend growth per year on average over the past ten years. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. KSH Holdings is already paying out 110% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.
To Sum It Up
Has KSH Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's not a great combination to see a company with earnings in decline and paying out 110% of its profits, which could imply the dividend may be at risk of being cut in the future. However, the cash payout ratio was much lower - good news from a dividend perspective - which makes us wonder why there is such a mis-match between income and cashflow. It's not that we think KSH Holdings is a bad company, but these characteristics don't generally lead to outstanding dividend performance.
Want to learn more about KSH Holdings? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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