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Does Shimao Property Holdings Limited (HKG:813) Have A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll take a closer look at Shimao Property Holdings Limited (HKG:813) 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.

With Shimao Property Holdings yielding 5.0% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 2.6% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Shimao Property Holdings for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

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SEHK:813 Historical Dividend Yield, June 16th 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, Shimao Property Holdings paid out 40% of its profit as dividends. This is medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

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 Shimao Property Holdings 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 Shimao Property Holdings'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.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Shimao Property Holdings's financial position 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. Shimao Property Holdings has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.18 in 2009, compared to CN¥1.03 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 19% a year over that time. Shimao Property Holdings's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 19% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

Shimao Property Holdings 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 evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. Shimao Property Holdings has grown its earnings per share at 4.4% per annum over the past five years. Shimao Property Holdings is paying out less than half of its earnings, which we like. Earnings per share growth have grown slowly, which is not great, but if the retained earnings can be reinvested effectively, future growth may be stronger.

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. Firstly, the company has a conservative payout ratio, although we'd note that its cashflow in the past year was substantially lower than its reported profit. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Shimao Property Holdings from a dividend perspective. It's not that we think it's a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 25 analysts we track are forecasting for Shimao Property Holdings for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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.