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Should ARC Document Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:ARC) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Could ARC Document Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:ARC) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 3.1% of its market capitalisation. 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.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NYSE:ARC Historical Dividend Yield, March 1st 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. ARC Document Solutions paid out 15% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.

Is ARC Document Solutions's Balance Sheet Risky?

As ARC Document Solutions has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). ARC Document Solutions has net debt of 1.64 times its EBITDA, which we think is not too troublesome.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.83 times its interest expense, ARC Document Solutions's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.

Consider getting our latest analysis on ARC Document Solutions's financial position 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. With a payment history of less than 2 years, we think it's a bit too soon to think about living on the income from its dividend. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.04 per share.

Modest dividend growth is good to see, especially with the payments being relatively stable. However, the payment history is relatively short and we wouldn't want to rely on this dividend too much.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. ARC Document Solutions's earnings per share have shrunk at 16% a year over the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and ARC Document Solutions's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that ARC Document Solutions's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see ARC Document Solutions has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Earnings per share are down, and to our mind ARC Document Solutions has not been paying a dividend long enough to demonstrate its resilience across economic cycles. ARC Document Solutions might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on ARC Document Solutions management tenure, salary, and performance.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.