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Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:PKOH) Is Yielding 1.5% - But Is It A Buy?

Simply Wall St

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Dividend paying stocks like Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:PKOH) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested 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.

With a 1.5% yield and a five-year payment history, investors probably think Park-Ohio Holdings looks like a reliable dividend stock. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 2.9% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqGS:PKOH Historical Dividend Yield, July 8th 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. 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. In the last year, Park-Ohio Holdings paid out 11% of its profit as dividends. We'd say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Park-Ohio Holdings paid out 108% of its free cash flow last year, suggesting the dividend is poorly covered by cash flow. Park-Ohio Holdings paid out less in dividends than it reported in profits, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough free cash flow to cover the dividend. Were it to repeatedly pay dividends that were not well covered by cash flow, this could be a risk to Park-Ohio Holdings's ability to maintain its dividend.

Is Park-Ohio Holdings's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Park-Ohio Holdings 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 measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). With net debt of 3.65 times its EBITDA, investors are starting to take on a meaningful amount of risk, should the business enter a downturn.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 3.08 times its interest expense, Park-Ohio Holdings's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Park-Ohio Holdings's financial position here.

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. Looking at the data, we can see that Park-Ohio Holdings has been paying a dividend for the past five years. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.50 per share, effectively flat on its first payment five 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

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient's purchasing power. Earnings have grown at around 5.8% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! With a decent amount of growth and a low payout ratio, we think this bodes well for Park-Ohio Holdings's prospects of growing its dividend payments in the future.

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. Firstly, the company has a conservative payout ratio, although we'd note that its cashflow in the past year was substantially lower than its reported profit. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Park-Ohio Holdings from a dividend perspective. It's not that we think it's a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for Park-Ohio Holdings for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield 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.