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Could China Resources Medical Holdings Company Limited (HKG:1515) Have The Makings Of Another Dividend Aristocrat?

Simply Wall St

Is China Resources Medical Holdings Company Limited (HKG:1515) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

With a 2.8% yield and a six-year payment history, investors probably think China Resources Medical Holdings looks like a reliable dividend stock. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 2.7% of market capitalisation this year. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying China Resources Medical Holdings for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

SEHK:1515 Historical Dividend Yield, February 25th 2020

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. 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. In the last year, China Resources Medical Holdings paid out 32% of its profit as dividends. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. China Resources Medical Holdings paid out 61% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It's positive to see that China Resources Medical Holdings's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

With a strong net cash balance, China Resources Medical Holdings investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of China Resources Medical Holdings's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. China Resources Medical Holdings has been paying a dividend for the past six years. It's good to see that China Resources Medical Holdings has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past six-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.053 in 2014, compared to CN¥0.11 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 12% per year over this time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 12% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.

China Resources Medical Holdings has grown distributions at a rapid rate despite cutting the dividend at least once in the past. Companies that cut once often cut again, but it might be worth considering if the business has turned a corner.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. It's good to see China Resources Medical Holdings has been growing its earnings per share at 16% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing at a good rate, and the company is paying less than half its earnings as dividends. We generally think this is an attractive combination, as it permits further reinvestment in the business.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that China Resources Medical Holdings's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that China Resources Medical Holdings pays out a low fraction of earnings. It pays out a higher percentage of its cashflow, although this is within acceptable bounds. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Overall we think China Resources Medical Holdings is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for China Resources Medical Holdings for free with public 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.