Could OFG Bancorp (NYSE:OFG) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the 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 slim 1.4% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, OFG Bancorp could have potential. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding OFG Bancorp for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.
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. In the last year, OFG Bancorp paid out 15% of its profit as dividends. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.
We update our data on OFG Bancorp every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. OFG Bancorp has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.56 in 2009, compared to US$0.28 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 6.7% a year during that period. OFG Bancorp's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 6.7% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.
We struggle to make a case for buying OFG Bancorp for its dividend, given that payments have shrunk over the past ten years.
Dividend Growth Potential
Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. OFG Bancorp'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.
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. Firstly, we like that OFG Bancorp has a low and conservative payout ratio. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to generate earnings per share growth, and cut its dividend at least once in the past. OFG Bancorp might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.
Without at least some growth in earnings per share over time, the dividend will eventually come under pressure either from costs or inflation. Businesses can change though, and we think it would make sense to see what analysts are forecasting 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%.
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