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Could Chevalier International Holdings Limited (HKG:25) Have The Makings Of Another Dividend Aristocrat?

Simply Wall St

Could Chevalier International Holdings Limited (HKG:25) 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. 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.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Chevalier International Holdings. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Chevalier International Holdings for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

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SEHK:25 Historical Dividend Yield, October 28th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. 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, Chevalier International Holdings paid out 23% 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. Chevalier International Holdings paid out a conservative 43% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. 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 Chevalier International Holdings's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Chevalier International Holdings 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). With net debt of 2.57 times its EBITDA, Chevalier International Holdings'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. Net interest cover of 5.87 times its interest expense appears reasonable for Chevalier International Holdings, although we're conscious that even high interest cover doesn't make a company bulletproof.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Chevalier International Holdings's financial position 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. Chevalier International Holdings has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.34 in 2009, compared to HK$0.50 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 3.8% a year over that time. Chevalier International Holdings's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 3.8% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

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 see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Earnings have grown at around 5.6% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! A low payout ratio and strong historical earnings growth suggests Chevalier International Holdings has been effectively reinvesting in its business. We think this generally bodes well for its dividend prospects.

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. 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 chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. Overall we think Chevalier International Holdings is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Chevalier International Holdings management tenure, salary, and performance.

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