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Should P&F Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:PFIN) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Is P&F Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:PFIN) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

With a goodly-sized dividend yield despite a relatively short payment history, investors might be wondering if P&F Industries is a new dividend aristocrat in the making. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 23% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on P&F Industries!

NasdaqGM:PFIN Historical Dividend Yield, November 14th 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. P&F Industries paid out 12% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Last year, P&F Industries paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

Is P&F Industries's Balance Sheet Risky?

As P&F Industries has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 0.41 times its EBITDA, P&F Industries has an acceptable level of debt.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. P&F Industries has interest cover of less than 1 - which suggests its earnings are not high enough to cover even the interest payments on its debt. This is potentially quite serious, and we would likely avoid the stock if it were not resolved quickly.

We update our data on P&F Industries every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. P&F Industries has been paying a dividend for the past four years. 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. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.20 per share, effectively flat on its first payment four years ago.

We like that the dividend hasn't been shrinking. However we're conscious that the company hasn't got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see P&F Industries has grown its earnings per share at 15% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share are growing at a solid clip, and the payout ratio is low. We think this is an ideal combination in a dividend stock.

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. P&F Industries has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we'd like. Ultimately, P&F Industries comes up short on our dividend analysis. It's not that we think it is a bad company - just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in P&F Industries stock.

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.