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Would Credit Suisse Group AG (VTX:CSGN) Be Valuable To Income Investors?

Simply Wall St

Could Credit Suisse Group AG (VTX:CSGN) 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 slim 2.0% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Credit Suisse Group could have potential. The company also returned around 4.7% of its market capitalisation to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks over the past year. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Credit Suisse Group!

SWX:CSGN Historical Dividend Yield, November 14th 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 24% of Credit Suisse Group's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Credit Suisse Group's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

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. Credit Suisse Group 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 CHF0.10 in 2009, compared to CHF0.26 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10% a year over that time. Credit Suisse Group's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 10% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

Credit Suisse Group 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. Credit Suisse Group's earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Over the long term, steady earnings per share is a risk as the value of the dividends can be reduced by inflation. As we saw above, earnings per share growth has not been strong. However, at least the payout ratio is conservative, and there is plenty of potential to increase this over time.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Credit Suisse Group'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 Credit Suisse Group has a low and conservative payout ratio. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to generate earnings growth, and cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Credit Suisse Group out there.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 14 Credit Suisse Group analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

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.