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Should You Buy Pizza Pizza Royalty Corp. (TSE:PZA) For Its Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Could Pizza Pizza Royalty Corp. (TSE:PZA) 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. 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.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Pizza Pizza Royalty. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Pizza Pizza Royalty for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Pizza Pizza Royalty!

TSX:PZA Historical Dividend Yield, October 8th 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, Pizza Pizza Royalty paid out 101% of its profit as dividends. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, from the perspective of an investor who hopes to own the company for many years, a payout ratio of above 100% is definitely a concern.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Pizza Pizza Royalty paid out 104% of its free cash flow last year, suggesting the dividend is poorly covered by cash flow. Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Pizza Pizza Royalty's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would definitely be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Pizza Pizza Royalty'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. Pizza Pizza Royalty has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CA$0.93 in 2009, compared to CA$0.86 last year. The dividend has shrunk at a rate of less than 1% a year over this period.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either external business conditions, or the company's capital allocation decisions. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Pizza Pizza Royalty's earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Over the long term, steady earnings per share is a risk as the value of the dividends can be reduced by inflation. This level of earnings growth is low, and the company is paying out 101% of its profit. Limited recent earnings growth and a high payout ratio makes it hard for us to envision strong future dividend growth, unless the company should have substantial pricing power or some form of competitive advantage.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. It's a concern to see that the company paid out such a high percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. Earnings not been growing, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. In summary, Pizza Pizza Royalty has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are a number of better ideas out there.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Pizza Pizza Royalty in our latest insider ownership analysis.

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.