Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Just Life Group Limited (NZSE:JLG) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 21st of November in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 6th of December.
The upcoming dividend for Just Life Group is NZ$0.026 per share, increased from last year's total dividends per share of NZ$0.022. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Last year, Just Life Group paid out 99% of its income as dividends, which is above a level that we're comfortable with, especially if the company needs to reinvest in its business. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Just Life Group generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Dividends consumed 68% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.
It's good to see that while Just Life Group's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Just Life Group's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Just Life Group has seen its dividend decline 4.8% per annum on average over the past ten years, which is not great to see. It's unusual to see earnings per share increasing at the same time as dividends per share have been in decline. We'd hope it's because the company is reinvesting heavily in its business, but it could also suggest business is lumpy.
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Just Life Group? Just Life Group has been growing its earnings per share nicely, although judging by the difference between its profit and cashflow payout ratios, the company might have reported some write-offs over the last year. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about Just Life Group from a dividend perspective.
Curious about whether Just Life Group has been able to consistently generate growth? Here's a chart of its historical revenue and earnings growth.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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