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What Makes Anglo Pacific Group plc (LON:APF) A Great Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Anglo Pacific Group plc (LON:APF) 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. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

In this case, Anglo Pacific Group likely looks attractive to investors, given its 3.8% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Anglo Pacific Group for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

LSE:APF Historical Dividend Yield, September 21st 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Anglo Pacific Group paid out 31% of its profit as dividends. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Plus, there is room to increase 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. Of the free cash flow it generated last year, Anglo Pacific Group paid out 29% as dividends, suggesting the dividend is affordable. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note Anglo Pacific Group's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Anglo Pacific Group'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. Anglo Pacific Group 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 UK£0.078 in 2009, compared to UK£0.08 last year. Its dividends have grown at less than 1% per annum over this time frame.

It's good to see some dividend growth, but the dividend has been cut at least once, and the size of the cut would eliminate most of the growth, anyway. We're not that enthused by this.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Anglo Pacific Group has grown its earnings per share at 69% per annum over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

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. It's great to see that Anglo Pacific Group is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Overall we think Anglo Pacific Group scores well on our analysis. It's not quite perfect, but we'd definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 5 analysts we track are forecasting for Anglo Pacific Group for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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