Could China Resources Pharmaceutical Group Limited (HKG:3320) 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.
With only a three-year payment history, and a 1.9% yield, investors probably think China Resources Pharmaceutical Group is not much of a dividend stock. Many of the best dividend stocks typically start out paying a low yield, so we wouldn't automatically cut it from our list of prospects. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, China Resources Pharmaceutical Group paid out 17% of its profit as dividends. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.
We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. China Resources Pharmaceutical Group's cash payout ratio last year was 13%. Cash flows are typically lumpy, but this looks like an appropriately conservative payout. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Is China Resources Pharmaceutical Group's Balance Sheet Risky?
As China Resources Pharmaceutical Group 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). China Resources Pharmaceutical Group has net debt of 1.59 times its EBITDA, which is generally an okay level of debt for most companies.
Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. Interest cover of 3.98 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for China Resources Pharmaceutical Group, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well.
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. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.09 in 2016, compared to HK$0.13 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 13% per year over this time.
The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.
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. China Resources Pharmaceutical Group has grown its earnings per share at 2.9% per annum over the past five years. As we saw above, earnings per share growth has not been strong. On the plus side, the dividend payout ratio is low and dividends could grow faster than earnings, if the company decides to increase its payout ratio.
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. First, we like that the company's dividend payments appear well covered, although the retained capital also needs to be effectively reinvested. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. Overall we think China Resources Pharmaceutical Group is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 11 China Resources Pharmaceutical Group analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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