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The board of Quarterhill Inc. (TSE:QTRH) has announced that it will pay a dividend on the 8th of July, with investors receiving CA$0.013 per share. This payment means that the dividend yield will be 2.4%, which is around the industry average.
Quarterhill's Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
Solid dividend yields are great, but they only really help us if the payment is sustainable. Quarterhill is quite easily earning enough to cover the dividend, however it is being let down by weak cash flows. In general, we consider cash flow to be more important than earnings, so we would be cautious about relying on the sustainability of this dividend.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to fall by 0.9% over the next year. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we believe the payout ratio could be 13%, which we are pretty comfortable with and we think is feasible on an earnings basis.
The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2012, the first annual payment was CA$0.10, compared to the most recent full-year payment of CA$0.05. This works out to be a decline of approximately 6.7% per year over that time. Generally, we don't like to see a dividend that has been declining over time as this can degrade shareholders' returns and indicate that the company may be running into problems.
The Dividend Has Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, and a poor history of shrinking dividends, it's even more important to see if EPS is growing. Quarterhill has seen EPS rising for the last five years, at 7.7% per annum. A low payout ratio and decent growth suggests that the company is reinvesting well, and it also has plenty of room to increase the dividend over time.
Our Thoughts On Quarterhill's Dividend
Overall, it's nice to see a consistent dividend payment, but we think that longer term, the current level of payment might be unsustainable. While the low payout ratio is redeeming feature, this is offset by the minimal cash to cover the payments. We don't think Quarterhill is a great stock to add to your portfolio if income is your focus.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. To that end, Quarterhill has 3 warning signs (and 2 which are significant) we think you should know about. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our collection of strong dividend payers.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.