Dividend paying stocks like Cleanaway Waste Management Limited (ASX:CWY) 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 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.
With a 1.9% yield and a five-year payment history, investors probably think Cleanaway Waste Management looks like a reliable dividend stock. A 1.9% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Cleanaway Waste Management for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.
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. Cleanaway Waste Management paid out 59% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.
Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Cleanaway Waste Management's cash payout ratio in the last year was 35%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It's positive to see that Cleanaway Waste Management'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.
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. Looking at the data, we can see that Cleanaway Waste Management has been paying a dividend for the past five years. During the past five-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.015 in 2014, compared to AU$0.038 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 20% 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
Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Cleanaway Waste Management has grown its earnings per share at 68% per annum over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 59%, this business looks like an interesting prospect if earnings are reinvested effectively.
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 think Cleanaway Waste Management has an acceptable payout ratio and its dividend is well covered by cashflow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. Cleanaway Waste Management has a number of positive attributes, but it falls slightly short of our (admittedly high) standards. Were there evidence of a strong moat or an attractive valuation, it could still be well worth a look.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 8 Cleanaway Waste Management analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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