Is Luminex Corporation (NASDAQ:LMNX) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.
Some readers mightn't know much about Luminex's 1.7% dividend, as it has only been paying distributions for the last three years. A low dividend might not be a bad thing, if the company is reinvesting heavily and growing its sales and profits. 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. Although it reported a loss over the past 12 months, Luminex currently pays a dividend. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.
Unfortunately, while Luminex pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it's not ideal from a dividend perspective.
With a strong net cash balance, Luminex investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.
Consider getting our latest analysis on Luminex's financial position here.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. 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 US$0.24 in 2016, compared to US$0.36 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 14% per year over this 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. Luminex's earnings per share have shrunk at 27% a year over the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Luminex's earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.
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. We're a bit uncomfortable with Luminex paying a dividend while loss-making, especially since the dividend was also not well covered by free cash flow. Earnings per share are down, and to our mind Luminex has not been paying a dividend long enough to demonstrate its resilience across economic cycles. There are a few too many issues for us to get comfortable with Luminex from a dividend perspective. Businesses can change, but we would struggle to identify why an investor should rely on this stock for their income.
Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. See if the 5 analysts are forecasting a turnaround in our free collection of analyst estimates here.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
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