Rapala VMC Corporation (HEL:RAP1V) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 31st of October in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 8th of November.
Rapala VMC's next dividend payment will be €0.03 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of €0.06 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Rapala VMC has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current stock price of €2.76. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are 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. Its dividend payout ratio is 85% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. Over the last year it paid out 53% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see Rapala VMC's earnings per share have dropped 26% a year over the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Rapala VMC has seen its dividend decline 11% per annum on average over the past ten years, which is not great to see. While it's not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we're encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.
The Bottom Line
Has Rapala VMC got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's never good to see earnings per share shrinking, but at least the dividend payout ratios appear reasonable. We're aware though that if earnings continue to decline, the dividend could be at risk. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.
Keen to explore more data on Rapala VMC's financial performance? Check out our visualisation of its historical revenue and earnings growth.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.