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Does Gr. Sarantis S.A. (ATH:SAR) Have A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Could Gr. Sarantis S.A. (ATH:SAR) 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. 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.

While Gr. Sarantis's 1.7% dividend yield is not the highest, we think its lengthy payment history is quite interesting. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 0.9% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Gr. Sarantis!

ATSE:SAR Historical Dividend Yield, August 30th 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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Gr. Sarantis paid out 30% of its profit as dividends. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Unfortunately, while Gr. Sarantis 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.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Gr. Sarantis's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Gr. Sarantis's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €0.015 in 2009, compared to €0.14 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 25% a year over that time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 25% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.

Gr. Sarantis 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

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. It's good to see Gr. Sarantis has been growing its earnings per share at 17% a year over the past 5 years. Earnings per share have been growing at a good rate, and the company is paying less than half its earnings as dividends. We generally think this is an attractive combination, as it permits further reinvestment in the business.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Gr. Sarantis's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Gr. Sarantis has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to generate earnings per share growth, and cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Gr. Sarantis out there.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 5 Gr. Sarantis analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield 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.