Is Equitable Group Inc. (TSE:EQB) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
A 2.3% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Equitable Group has some staying power. Remember that the recent share price drop will make Equitable Group's yield look higher, even though recent events might have impacted the company's prospects. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Equitable Group for its dividend - read on to learn more.
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. In the last year, Equitable Group paid out 11% of its profit as dividends. We'd say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.
Consider getting our latest analysis on Equitable Group's financial position here.
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. Equitable Group has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CA$0.40 in 2010, compared to CA$1.48 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 14% a year over that time.
It's rare to find a company that has grown its dividends rapidly over ten years and not had any notable cuts, but Equitable Group has done it, which we really like.
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 Equitable Group has been growing its earnings per share at 13% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share are growing at a solid clip, and the payout ratio is low. We think this is an ideal combination in a dividend stock.
We'd also point out that Equitable Group issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental - it's hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.
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 Equitable Group has a low and conservative payout ratio. Next, growing earnings per share and steady dividend payments is a great combination. Equitable Group fits all of our criteria, and we think there are a lot of positives to it from a dividend perspective.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 1 warning sign for Equitable Group that investors need to be conscious of moving forward.
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 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.
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