U.S. Markets closed

Read This Before Buying Ark Restaurants Corp. (NASDAQ:ARKR) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Is Ark Restaurants Corp. (NASDAQ:ARKR) 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 stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Ark Restaurants. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Ark Restaurants for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqGM:ARKR Historical Dividend Yield, November 6th 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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Ark Restaurants paid out 82% of its profit as dividends. Paying out a majority of its earnings limits the amount that can be reinvested in the business. This may indicate a commitment to paying a dividend, or a dearth of investment opportunities.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Ark Restaurants paid out 59% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Ark Restaurants'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. Ark Restaurants has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of 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. Its most recent annual dividend was US$1.00 per share, effectively flat on its first payment ten years ago.

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. Ark Restaurants's EPS are effectively flat over the past five years. Over the long term, steady earnings per share is a risk as the value of the dividends can be reduced by inflation. Earnings are not growing quickly at all, and the company is paying out most of its profit as dividends. When a company prefers to pay out cash to its shareholders instead of reinvesting it, this can often say a lot about that company's dividend prospects.

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. First, we think Ark Restaurants is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. Earnings per share have not been growing, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. Ultimately, Ark Restaurants 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 Ark Restaurants stock.

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.