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How Does CVR Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CVI) Fare As A Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

Could CVR Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CVI) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

In this case, CVR Energy likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 7.1% dividend yield and eight-year payment history. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story . Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NYSE:CVI Historical Dividend Yield, November 19th 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, CVR Energy paid out 70% of its profit as dividends. 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. CVR Energy's cash payout ratio in the last year was 49%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's positive to see that CVR Energy'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 CVR Energy's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that CVR Energy paid its first dividend at least eight years ago. It's good to see that CVR Energy 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 eight-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.32 in 2011, compared to US$3.20 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 33% per year over this time. CVR Energy's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 33% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

CVR Energy has grown distributions at a rapid rate despite cutting the dividend at least once in the past. Companies that cut once often cut again, but it might be worth considering if the business has turned a corner.

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? CVR Energy's earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Over the long term, steady earnings per share is a risk as the value of the dividends can be reduced by inflation. Growth of 0.5% is relatively anaemic growth, which we wonder about. If the company is struggling to grow, perhaps that's why it elects to pay out more than half of its earnings to shareholders.

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. First, we think CVR Energy has an acceptable payout ratio and its dividend is well covered by cashflow. Second, earnings have been essentially flat, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. Ultimately, CVR Energy 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.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in CVR Energy 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.