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Should You Buy YGM Trading Limited (HKG:375) For Its Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll take a closer look at YGM Trading Limited (HKG:375) 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 the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With YGM Trading yielding 7.7% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying YGM Trading for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

SEHK:375 Historical Dividend Yield May 25th 2020

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. YGM Trading paid out 63% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Last year, YGM Trading paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note YGM Trading's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

We update our data on YGM Trading every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. YGM Trading has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.56 in 2010, compared to HK$0.20 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 9.8% a year during that period. YGM Trading's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 9.8% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.

We struggle to make a case for buying YGM Trading for its dividend, given that payments have shrunk over the past ten years.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. YGM Trading's earnings per share have shrunk at 18% 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 YGM Trading's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

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. YGM Trading gets a pass on its dividend payout ratio, but it paid out virtually all of its cash flow as dividends. This may just be a one-off, but we'd keep an eye on this. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. In this analysis, YGM Trading doesn't shape up too well as a dividend stock. We'd find it hard to look past the flaws, and would not be inclined to think of it as a reliable dividend-payer.

It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. For example, we've identified 4 warning signs for YGM Trading (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.