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Does Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSE:CFX) Have A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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Is Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSE:CFX) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With a 2.4% yield and a seven-year payment history, investors probably think Canfor Pulp Products looks like a reliable dividend stock. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Canfor Pulp Products for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Canfor Pulp Products!

TSX:CFX Historical Dividend Yield, July 20th 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 12% of Canfor Pulp Products'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.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Canfor Pulp Products paid out 73% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It's positive to see that Canfor Pulp Products'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.

We update our data on Canfor Pulp Products every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, 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. Looking at the data, we can see that Canfor Pulp Products has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. It's good to see that Canfor Pulp Products 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 seven-year period, the first annual payment was CA$1.32 in 2012, compared to CA$0.25 last year. Dividend payments have fallen sharply, down 81% over that time.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either the business or management. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. It's good to see Canfor Pulp Products has been growing its earnings per share at 28% a year over the past 5 years. The company is only paying out a fraction of its earnings as dividends, and in the past been able to use the retained earnings to grow its profits rapidly - an ideal combination.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Canfor Pulp Products'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 Canfor Pulp Products 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 Canfor Pulp Products is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Canfor Pulp Products stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.