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Does Carlsberg A/S (CPH:CARL B) Have A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll take a closer look at Carlsberg A/S (CPH:CARL B) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A 2.0% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Carlsberg has some staying power. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Carlsberg for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

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CPSE:CARL B Historical Dividend Yield, June 27th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 52% of Carlsberg's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Carlsberg's cash payout ratio in the last year was 30%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's positive to see that Carlsberg'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 Carlsberg every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Carlsberg's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was ø3.50 in 2009, compared to ø18.00 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 18% a year over that time.

With rapid dividend growth and no notable cuts to the dividend over a lengthy period of time, we think this company has a lot going for it.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. While there may be fluctuations in the past , Carlsberg's earnings per share have basically not grown from where they were five years ago. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company's dividends could be eroded by inflation.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Carlsberg's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Carlsberg's payout ratios are within a normal range for the average corporation, and we like that its cashflow was stronger than reported profits. It's not great to see earnings per share shrinking. The dividends have been relatively consistent, but we wonder for how much longer this will be true. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Carlsberg out there.

Without at least some growth in earnings per share over time, the dividend will eventually come under pressure either from costs or inflation. See if the 21 analysts are forecasting a turnaround in our free collection of analyst estimates here.

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.