Is Chaowei Power Holdings Limited (HKG:951) 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.
Investors might not know much about Chaowei Power Holdings's dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last nine years and offers a 2.3% yield. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 10% of Chaowei Power Holdings's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. We'd say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Chaowei Power Holdings's cash payout ratio last year was 2.5%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It's positive to see that Chaowei Power 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 Chaowei Power Holdings's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Chaowei Power Holdings has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with 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. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. Chaowei Power Holdings has net debt of 2.56 times its EBITDA. Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.
We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.78 times its interest expense, Chaowei Power Holdings's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.
We update our data on Chaowei Power Holdings every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
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. The first recorded dividend for Chaowei Power Holdings, in the last decade, was nine years ago. It's good to see that Chaowei Power Holdings has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.08 in 2010, compared to CN¥0.057 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 3.8% a year during that period. Chaowei Power Holdings's dividend has been cut sharply at least once, so it hasn't fallen by 3.8% every year, but this is a decent approximation of the long term change.
A shrinking dividend over a nine-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.
Dividend Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Chaowei Power Holdings has grown its earnings per share at 12% per annum 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.
Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. First, we like that the company's dividend payments appear well covered, although the retained capital also needs to be effectively reinvested. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. All things considered, Chaowei Power Holdings looks like a strong prospect. At the right valuation, it could be something special.
Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Chaowei Power Holdings in our latest insider ownership analysis.
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 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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