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Consider This Before Buying PBF Energy Inc. (NYSE:PBF) For The 4.0% Dividend

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like PBF Energy Inc. (NYSE:PBF) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

With a seven-year payment history and a 4.0% yield, many investors probably find PBF Energy intriguing. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying PBF Energy for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on PBF Energy!

NYSE:PBF Historical Dividend Yield, December 10th 2019

Payout ratios

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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. While PBF Energy pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.

PBF Energy paid out 124% of its free cash flow last year, which we think is concerning if cash flows do not improve.

Is PBF Energy's Balance Sheet Risky?

Given PBF Energy is paying a dividend but reported a loss over the past year, we need to check its balance sheet for signs of financial distress. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 2.23 times its EBITDA, PBF Energy's debt burden is within a normal range for most listed companies.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. Interest cover of 2.70 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for PBF Energy, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well.

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

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. PBF Energy has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a while now, which is great. However we'd prefer to see consistency for a few more years before giving it our full seal of approval. Its most recent annual dividend was US$1.20 per share, effectively flat on its first payment seven years ago.

It's good to see at least some dividend growth. Yet with a relatively short dividend paying history, we wouldn't want to depend on this dividend too heavily.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see PBF Energy has grown its earnings per share at 21% per annum over the past five years.

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. It's a concern to see that the company paid a dividend despite reporting a loss, and the dividend was also not well covered by free cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. With this information in mind, we think PBF Energy may not be an ideal dividend stock.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 10 PBF Energy 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 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.

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. Thank you for reading.