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It Might Not Be A Great Idea To Buy Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (SGX:C07) For Its Next Dividend

Simply Wall St

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (SGX:C07) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 27th of August will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 7th of October.

Jardine Cycle & Carriage's next dividend payment will be US$0.18 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.87 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Jardine Cycle & Carriage has a trailing yield of 3.9% on the current share price of SGD30.68. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for Jardine Cycle & Carriage

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Jardine Cycle & Carriage paid out more than half (51%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Jardine Cycle & Carriage generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Over the last year it paid out 56% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

SGX:C07 Historical Dividend Yield, August 22nd 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Jardine Cycle & Carriage's earnings per share have fallen at approximately 7.9% a year over the previous 5 years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Jardine Cycle & Carriage has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.7% a year on average. That's interesting, but the combination of a growing dividend despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out more of the company's profits. This can be valuable for shareholders, but it can't go on forever.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Jardine Cycle & Carriage for the upcoming dividend? It's never good to see earnings per share shrinking, but at least the dividend payout ratios appear reasonable. We're aware though that if earnings continue to decline, the dividend could be at risk. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Jardine Cycle & Carriage? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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.