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Should You Buy Singapore Reinsurance Corporation Limited (SGX:S49) For Its 4.5% Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll take a closer look at Singapore Reinsurance Corporation Limited (SGX:S49) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. 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.

In this case, Singapore Reinsurance likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 4.5% dividend yield and nine-year payment history. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story . Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Singapore Reinsurance for its dividend - read on to learn more.

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SGX:S49 Historical Dividend Yield, May 27th 2019

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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. Looking at the data, we can see that 90% of Singapore Reinsurance's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. It's paying out most of its earnings, which limits the amount that can be reinvested in the business. This may indicate limited need for further capital within the business, or highlight a commitment to paying a dividend.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Singapore Reinsurance'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. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Singapore Reinsurance paid its first dividend at least nine years ago. Although it has been paying a dividend for several years now, the dividend has been cut at least once by more than 20%, and we're cautious about the consistency of its dividend across a full economic cycle. Its most recent annual dividend was S$0.013 per share, effectively flat on its first payment nine years ago.

We're glad to see the dividend has risen, but with a limited rate of growth and fluctuations in the payments, we don't think this is an attractive combination.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. Over the past five years, it looks as though Singapore Reinsurance's EPS have declined at around 16% a year. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

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. Singapore Reinsurance's payout ratio is within normal bounds. Earnings per share are down, and Singapore Reinsurance's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. In short, we're not keen on Singapore Reinsurance from a dividend perspective. Businesses can change, but we've spotted a few too many concerns with this one to get comfortable.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Singapore Reinsurance stock.

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.