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Should Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. (NYSE:PHX) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Could Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. (NYSE:PHX) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A slim 1.3% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Panhandle Oil and Gas could have potential. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 3.7% of market capitalisation this year. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Panhandle Oil and Gas!

NYSE:PHX Historical Dividend Yield, December 10th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 17% of Panhandle Oil and Gas's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. 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, Panhandle Oil and Gas paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Panhandle Oil and Gas'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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Panhandle Oil and Gas's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.14 in 2009, compared to US$0.16 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 1.3% a year over that time.

While the consistency in the dividend payments is impressive, we think the relatively slow rate of growth is unappealing.

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. Earnings have grown at around 2.5% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! So, we know earnings growth has been thin on the ground. However, at least the payout ratio is conservative, and there is plenty of potential to increase this over time.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Panhandle Oil and Gas's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Panhandle Oil and Gas has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Earnings per share growth has been slow, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. Ultimately, Panhandle Oil and Gas 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.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Panhandle Oil and Gas stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.