Dividend paying stocks like Systemair AB (publ) (STO:SYSR) 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. 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 1.1% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Systemair has some staying power. That said, the recent jump in the share price will make Systemair's dividend yield look smaller, even though the company prospects could be improving. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.
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. 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 23% of Systemair's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Systemair paid out 24% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable. It's positive to see that Systemair'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.
Is Systemair's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Systemair has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). Systemair has net debt of 2.35 times its EBITDA. Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.
Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 6.39k times its interest expense, Systemair's interest cover is quite strong - more than enough to cover the interest expense.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Systemair'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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Systemair's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was kr0.75 in 2010, compared to kr2.00 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 10% 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.
Systemair 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. Systemair's earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company's dividends could be eroded by inflation. As we saw above, earnings per share growth has not been strong. However, the payout ratio is low, and some companies can deliver adequate dividend performance simply by increasing the payout ratio.
When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that Systemair has low and conservative payout ratios. Second, earnings have been essentially flat, and its history of dividend payments is chequered - having cut its dividend at least once in the past. Systemair has a number of positive attributes, but it falls slightly short of our (admittedly high) standards. Were there evidence of a strong moat or an attractive valuation, it could still be well worth a look.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 3 Systemair analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on 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%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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