Diploma PLC (LON:DPLM) has announced that it will be increasing its dividend from last year's comparable payment on the 2nd of February to £0.40. Although the dividend is now higher, the yield is only 1.7%, which is below the industry average.
Diploma's Payment Has Solid Earnings Coverage
It would be nice for the yield to be higher, but we should also check if higher levels of dividend payment would be sustainable. Prior to this announcement, Diploma's dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. This means that a large portion of its earnings are being retained to grow the business.
Over the next year, EPS is forecast to expand by 41.0%. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio will be 52%, which is in the range that makes us comfortable with the sustainability of the dividend.
The company's dividend history has been marked by instability, with at least one cut in the last 10 years. Since 2013, the annual payment back then was £0.144, compared to the most recent full-year payment of £0.565. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 15% over that duration. Dividends have grown rapidly over this time, but with cuts in the past we are not certain that this stock will be a reliable source of income in the future.
The Dividend Looks Likely To Grow
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share is growing. Diploma has seen EPS rising for the last five years, at 13% per annum. Since earnings per share is growing at an acceptable rate, and the payout policy is balanced, we think the company is positioning itself well to grow earnings and dividends in the future.
We Really Like Diploma's Dividend
In summary, it is always positive to see the dividend being increased, and we are particularly pleased with its overall sustainability. The company is easily earning enough to cover its dividend payments and it is great to see that these earnings are being translated into cash flow. All of these factors considered, we think this has solid potential as a dividend stock.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 1 warning sign for Diploma that investors need to be conscious of moving forward. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our collection of strong dividend payers.
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