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Should You Buy Hon Kwok Land Investment Company, Limited (HKG:160) For Its Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Hon Kwok Land Investment Company, Limited (HKG:160) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

With Hon Kwok Land Investment Company yielding 3.8% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Hon Kwok Land Investment Company for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

SEHK:160 Historical Dividend Yield, October 30th 2019

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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. In the last year, Hon Kwok Land Investment Company paid out 7.8% of its profit as dividends. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Unfortunately, while Hon Kwok Land Investment Company pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it's not ideal from a dividend perspective.

Is Hon Kwok Land Investment Company's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Hon Kwok Land Investment Company 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). With net debt of 4.92 times its EBITDA, investors are starting to take on a meaningful amount of risk, should the business enter a downturn.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. Hon Kwok Land Investment Company has EBIT of 5.88 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate.

We update our data on Hon Kwok Land Investment Company 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. Hon Kwok Land Investment Company 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. Its most recent annual dividend was HK$0.13 per share, effectively flat on its first payment ten years ago.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. It's good to see Hon Kwok Land Investment Company has been growing its earnings per share at 14% a year over the past five years. Rapid earnings growth and a low payout ratio suggests this company has been effectively reinvesting in its business. Should that continue, this company could have a bright future.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Hon Kwok Land Investment Company has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Next, growing earnings per share and steady dividend payments is a great combination. Overall we think Hon Kwok Land Investment Company is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Hon Kwok Land Investment Company stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.