Readers hoping to buy GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 15th of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of August.
GUD Holdings's next dividend payment will be AU$0.31 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed AU$0.56 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, GUD Holdings has a trailing yield of approximately 6.1% on its current stock price of A$9.18. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. It paid out 81% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. GUD Holdings paid out more free cash flow than it generated - 123%, to be precise - last year, which we think is concerningly high. It's hard to consistently pay out more cash than you generate without either borrowing or using company cash, so we'd wonder how the company justifies this payout level.
While GUD Holdings's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were this to happen repeatedly, this would be a risk to GUD Holdings's ability to maintain its dividend.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. That's why it's comforting to see GUD Holdings's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 23% per annum for the past five years. Earnings have been growing quickly, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. GUD Holdings has seen its dividend decline 1.5% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid GUD Holdings? Earnings per share growth is a positive, and the company's payout ratio looks normal. However, we note GUD Holdings paid out a much higher percentage of its free cash flow, which makes us uncomfortable. Overall, it's hard to get excited about GUD Holdings from a dividend perspective.
Wondering what the future holds for GUD Holdings? See what the seven analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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