Is Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) a good dividend stock? How would you know? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.
Some readers mightn't know much about Hyatt Hotels's 1.0% dividend, as it has only been paying distributions for a year or so. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 12% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Hyatt Hotels for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.
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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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Hyatt Hotels paid out 17% of its profit as dividends. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Last year, Hyatt Hotels paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.
Is Hyatt Hotels's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Hyatt Hotels has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick way to check a company's financial situation uses these two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments on debt. Essentially we check that a) a company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 2.37 times its EBITDA, Hyatt Hotels's debt burden is within a normal range for most listed companies.
Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. Net interest cover of 6.13 times its interest expense appears reasonable for Hyatt Hotels, although we're conscious that even high interest cover doesn't make a company bulletproof.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Hyatt Hotels's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. With a payment history of less than 2 years, we think it's a bit too soon to think about living on the income from its dividend. During the past one-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.60 in 2018, compared to US$0.76 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 27% a year over that time.
We're not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.
Dividend Growth Potential
The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient's purchasing power. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Hyatt Hotels has grown its earnings per share at 24% per annum 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.
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 like Hyatt Hotels's low dividend payout ratio, although we're a bit concerned that it paid out a substantially higher percentage of its free cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Hyatt Hotels out there.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 14 Hyatt Hotels analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.
If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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 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. Thank you for reading.