U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 25 mins

Is Golden Eagle Retail Group Limited (HKG:3308) At Risk Of Cutting Its Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Could Golden Eagle Retail Group Limited (HKG:3308) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Golden Eagle Retail Group. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Golden Eagle Retail Group for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Golden Eagle Retail Group!

SEHK:3308 Historical Dividend Yield, August 19th 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, Golden Eagle Retail Group paid out 55% of its profit as dividends. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. The company paid out 50% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash Golden Eagle Retail Group has available to meet other needs. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

We update our data on Golden Eagle Retail Group every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, 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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Golden Eagle Retail Group's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.31 in 2009, compared to CN¥0.29 last year. The dividend has shrunk at a rate of less than 1% a year over this period.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either external business conditions, or the company's capital allocation decisions. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

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. Over the past five years, it looks as though Golden Eagle Retail Group's EPS have declined at around 3.9% a year. Declining earnings per share over a number of years is not a great sign for the dividend investor. Without some improvement, this does not bode well for the long term value of a company's dividend.

Conclusion

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. First, we think Golden Eagle Retail Group is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to generate earnings per share growth, and cut its dividend at least once in the past. In summary, Golden Eagle Retail Group has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. See if the 4 analysts are forecasting a turnaround in our free collection of analyst estimates here.

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 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.