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Are Dividend Investors Getting More Than They Bargained For With Hung Hing Printing Group Limited's (HKG:450) Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Is Hung Hing Printing Group Limited (HKG:450) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

In this case, Hung Hing Printing Group likely looks attractive to investors, given its 9.5% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 0.7% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Hung Hing Printing Group for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Hung Hing Printing Group!

SEHK:450 Historical Dividend Yield, July 30th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, 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. Although Hung Hing Printing Group pays a dividend, it was loss-making during the past year. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.

Last year, Hung Hing Printing Group paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

With a strong net cash balance, Hung Hing Printing Group investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

We update our data on Hung Hing Printing Group every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. Hung Hing Printing 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. Its dividend payments have fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.14 in 2009, compared to HK$0.10 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 3.3% per year over that time. Hung Hing Printing Group's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 3.3% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.

A shrinking dividend over a ten-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.

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? It's good to see Hung Hing Printing Group has been growing its earnings per share at 60% a year over the past 5 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. Hung Hing Printing Group's dividend is not well covered by free cash flow, plus it paid a dividend while being unprofitable. Second, earnings per share have been essentially flat, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. In summary, Hung Hing Printing Group has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Hung Hing Printing Group in our latest insider ownership analysis.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.