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Today we'll take a closer look at Carpenter Technology Corporation (NYSE:CRS) 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. 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 1.9% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Carpenter Technology has some staying power. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
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. 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 23% of Carpenter Technology'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.
We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Unfortunately, while Carpenter Technology pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it's not ideal from a dividend perspective. It's positive to see that Carpenter Technology'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.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Carpenter Technology's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. Carpenter Technology has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of 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 US$0.72 in 2009, compared to US$0.80 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 1.1% a year over that time.
Dividends have grown relatively slowly, which is not great, but some investors may value the relative consistency of the dividend.
Dividend Growth Potential
While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Carpenter Technology has grown its earnings per share at 4.0% per annum over the past five years. 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.
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. First, we like Carpenter Technology's low dividend payout ratio, although we're a bit concerned that it paid out a substantially higher percentage of its free cash flow. Second, earnings growth has been mediocre, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. Ultimately, Carpenter Technology comes up short on our dividend analysis. It's not that we think it is a bad company - just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 7 Carpenter Technology analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.
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 email@example.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.