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Investors In China Travel International Investment Hong Kong Limited (HKG:308) Should Consider This, First

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like China Travel International Investment Hong Kong Limited (HKG:308) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

In this case, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong likely looks attractive to investors, given its 4.9% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

SEHK:308 Historical Dividend Yield, December 4th 2019

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. 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 23% of China Travel International Investment Hong Kong's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Last year, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

With a strong net cash balance, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

We update our data on China Travel International Investment Hong Kong 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. China Travel International Investment Hong Kong 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 fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.02 in 2009, compared to HK$0.06 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 12% per year over this time. China Travel International Investment Hong Kong's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 12% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

It's not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We're generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

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. In the last five years, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong's earnings per share have shrunk at approximately 8.2% per annum. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

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 like China Travel International Investment Hong Kong's low dividend payout ratio, although we're a bit concerned that it paid out a substantially higher percentage of its free cash flow. Earnings per share are down, and China Travel International Investment Hong Kong's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. In summary, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are a number of better ideas out there.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on China Travel International Investment Hong Kong management tenure, salary, and performance.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 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.