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Know This Before Buying Invacare Corporation (NYSE:IVC) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

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Dividend paying stocks like Invacare Corporation (NYSE:IVC) 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.

A 1.0% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Invacare has some staying power. Remember that the recent share price drop will make Invacare's yield look higher, even though recent events might have impacted the company's prospects. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Invacare!

NYSE:IVC Historical Dividend Yield, July 4th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. While Invacare pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

Last year, Invacare paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Invacare's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. Invacare 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 most recent annual dividend was US$0.05 per share, effectively flat on its first payment ten years ago.


Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Invacare's EPS are effectively flat over the past five years. Over the long term, steady earnings per share is a risk as the value of the dividends can be reduced by inflation. A payout ratio below 50% leaves ample room to reinvest in the business, and provides finanical flexibility. Earnings per share growth have grown slowly, which is not great, but if the retained earnings can be reinvested effectively, future growth may be stronger.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Invacare's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Invacare's dividend is not well covered by free cash flow, plus it paid a dividend while being unprofitable. Earnings per share growth has been slow, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. In summary, Invacare 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.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 5 Invacare analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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 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. Thank you for reading.