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Dividend paying stocks like BE Semiconductor Industries N.V. (AMS:BESI) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.
In this case, BE Semiconductor Industries likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 7.6% dividend yield and eight-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 2.6% of market capitalisation this year. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying BE Semiconductor Industries for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. BE Semiconductor Industries paid out 114% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, from the perspective of an investor who hopes to own the company for many years, a payout ratio of above 100% is definitely a concern.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. With a cash payout ratio of 109%, BE Semiconductor Industries's dividend payments are poorly covered by cash flow. Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given BE Semiconductor Industries's payments were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we are concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of BE Semiconductor Industries'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. The first recorded dividend for BE Semiconductor Industries, in the last decade, was eight years ago. It's good to see that BE Semiconductor Industries 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 €0.10 in 2011, compared to €1.67 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 42% per year over this time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.
So, its dividends have grown at a rapid rate over this time, but payments have been cut in the past. The stock may still be worth considering as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.
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 BE Semiconductor Industries has been growing its earnings per share at 47% a year over the past 5 years. The company has been growing its EPS at a very rapid rate, while paying out virtually all of its income as dividends. Generally, a company that is growing rapidly while paying out a majority of its earnings, is seeing its debt burden increase. We'd be conscious of any extra risk added by this practice.
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. BE Semiconductor Industries paid out almost all of its cash flow and profit as dividends, leaving little to reinvest in the business. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. With this information in mind, we think BE Semiconductor Industries may not be an ideal dividend stock.
Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 5 analysts we track are forecasting for BE Semiconductor Industries for free with public 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 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.