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Park Aerospace Corp. (NYSE:PKE) Investors Should Think About This Before Buying It For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Could Park Aerospace Corp. (NYSE:PKE) 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 2.5% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Park Aerospace could have potential. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Park Aerospace for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NYSE:PKE Historical Dividend Yield, October 21st 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, 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, Park Aerospace paid out 97% of its profit as dividends. This is quite a high payout ratio that suggests the dividend is not well covered by earnings.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Last year, Park Aerospace paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note Park Aerospace'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 Park Aerospace's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

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. Park Aerospace 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 US$0.32 in 2009, compared to US$0.40 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 2.3% per year over this time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change 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 Park Aerospace has grown its earnings per share at 29% per annum over the past five years. The company has been growing its EPS at a very rapid rate, while paying out virtually all of its income as dividends. Generally, a company that is growing rapidly while paying out a majority of its earnings, is seeing its debt burden increase. We'd be conscious of any extra risk added by this practice.

Conclusion

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. Park Aerospace paid out almost all of its cash flow and profit as dividends, leaving little to reinvest in the business. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. In summary, Park Aerospace has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are a number of better ideas out there.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Park Aerospace stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.