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Is Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ) An Attractive Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ) 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.

Investors might not know much about Domino's Pizza's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last seven years and offers a 0.9% yield. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 2.2% of its market capitalisation. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Domino's Pizza!

NYSE:DPZ Historical Dividend Yield, January 24th 2020

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. Looking at the data, we can see that 27% of Domino's Pizza's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a 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.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Domino's Pizza paid out a conservative 28% of its free cash flow as dividends last year. It's positive to see that Domino's Pizza'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 Domino's Pizza's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Domino's Pizza 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). Domino's Pizza has net debt of 5.20 times its EBITDA, which implies meaningful risk if interest rates rise of earnings decline.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 4.17 times its interest expense, Domino's Pizza's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin. Low interest cover and high debt can create problems right when the investor least needs them, and we're reluctant to rely on the dividend of companies with these traits.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Domino's Pizza'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 data, we can see that Domino's Pizza has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. The dividend has been quite stable over the past seven years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past seven-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.80 in 2013, compared to US$2.60 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 18% per year over this time.

Domino's Pizza has been growing its dividend quite rapidly, which is exciting. However, the short payment history makes us question whether this performance will persist across a full market cycle.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. It's good to see Domino's Pizza has been growing its earnings per share at 29% a year over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Domino's Pizza's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we like that the company's dividend payments appear well covered, although the retained capital also needs to be effectively reinvested. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. Overall we think Domino's Pizza scores well on our analysis. It's not quite perfect, but we'd definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 26 Domino's Pizza 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%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.