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Is Asia Pacific Wire & Cable Corporation Limited's (NASDAQ:APWC) 5.8% Dividend Worth Your Time?

Simply Wall St

Is Asia Pacific Wire & Cable Corporation Limited (NASDAQ:APWC) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

Asia Pacific Wire & Cable has only been paying a dividend for a year or so, so investors might be curious about its 5.8% yield. Remember though, given the recent drop in its share price, Asia Pacific Wire & Cable's yield will look higher, even though the market may now be expecting a decline in its long-term prospects. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqGM:APWC Historical Dividend Yield, November 11th 2019

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Although it reported a loss over the past 12 months, Asia Pacific Wire & Cable currently pays a dividend. When a company recently reported a loss, we should investigate if its cash flows covered the dividend.

Asia Pacific Wire & Cable paid out 8.5% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable.

With a strong net cash balance, Asia Pacific Wire & Cable investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Asia Pacific Wire & Cable's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. This company has been paying a dividend for less than 2 years, which we think is too soon to consider it a reliable dividend stock. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.08 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

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient's purchasing power. It's good to see Asia Pacific Wire & Cable has been growing its earnings per share at 30% a year over the past five years.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Asia Pacific Wire & Cable'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 a bit uncomfortable with the company paying a dividend while being loss-making, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Asia Pacific Wire & Cable from a dividend perspective. It's not that we think it's a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Asia Pacific Wire & Cable in our latest insider ownership analysis.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.