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Key Things To Consider Before Buying QMS Media Limited (ASX:QMS) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Could QMS Media Limited (ASX:QMS) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

With only a three-year payment history, and a 1.8% yield, investors probably think QMS Media is not much of a dividend stock. A low dividend might not be a bad thing, if the company is reinvesting heavily and growing its sales and profits. That said, the recent jump in the share price will make QMS Media's dividend yield look smaller, even though the company prospects could be improving. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying QMS Media for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on QMS Media!

ASX:QMS Historical Dividend Yield, January 20th 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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 118% of QMS Media's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.

We update our data on QMS Media every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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 dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.015 in 2017, compared to AU$0.022 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 14% a year over that time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. It's good to see QMS Media has been growing its earnings per share at 22% a year over the past three years. Earnings per share have been growing very rapidly, although the company is also paying out virtually all of its profit in dividends. Generally, a company that is growing rapidly while paying out a majority of its earnings, is seeing its debt burden increase. We'd be conscious of any extra risk added by this practice.

Conclusion

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, it's not great to see how much of its earnings are being paid as dividends. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. QMS Media might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on QMS Media management tenure, salary, and performance.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.