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Is Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Limited (HKG:337) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

Simply Wall St

Is Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Limited (HKG:337) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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 Greenland Hong Kong Holdings. 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 Greenland Hong Kong Holdings for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Greenland Hong Kong Holdings!

SEHK:337 Historical Dividend Yield March 27th 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. 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, Greenland Hong Kong Holdings paid out 24% of its profit as dividends. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Greenland Hong Kong Holdings's cash payout ratio last year was 1.2%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It's positive to see that Greenland Hong Kong 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.

Is Greenland Hong Kong Holdings's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Greenland Hong Kong Holdings 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). With net debt of 3.04 times its EBITDA, investors are starting to take on a meaningful amount of risk, should the business enter a downturn.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 76.25 times its interest expense, Greenland Hong Kong Holdings's interest cover is quite strong - more than enough to cover the interest expense.

We update our data on Greenland Hong Kong Holdings every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Greenland Hong Kong 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. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.24 in 2010, compared to CN¥0.18 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 3.2% a year during that period. Greenland Hong Kong Holdings's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 3.2% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.

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

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. It's good to see Greenland Hong Kong Holdings has been growing its earnings per share at 102% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have grown rapidly, and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings. We think this is ideal from an investment perspective, if the company is able to reinvest these earnings effectively.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Greenland Hong Kong Holdings's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It's great to see that Greenland Hong Kong Holdings is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Greenland Hong Kong Holdings performs highly under this analysis, although it falls slightly short of our exacting standards. At the right valuation, it could be a solid dividend prospect.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 4 warning signs for Greenland Hong Kong Holdings that investors need to be conscious of moving forward.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.