Renishaw plc (LON:RSW) will increase its dividend from last year's comparable payment on the 7th of December to £0.594. This makes the dividend yield 2.1%, which is above the industry average.
Renishaw's Earnings Easily Cover The Distributions
A big dividend yield for a few years doesn't mean much if it can't be sustained. Before making this announcement, Renishaw was earning enough to cover the dividend, but it wasn't generating any free cash flows. No cash flows could definitely make returning cash to shareholders difficult, or at least mean the balance sheet will come under pressure.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to rise by 27.9% over the next year. If the dividend continues on this path, the payout ratio could be 39% by next year, which we think can be pretty sustainable going forward.
While the company has been paying a dividend for a long time, it has cut the dividend at least once in the last 10 years. The annual payment during the last 10 years was £0.395 in 2013, and the most recent fiscal year payment was £0.762. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.8% a year over that time. It's good to see the dividend growing at a decent rate, but the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Renishaw might have put its house in order since then, but we remain cautious.
Dividend Growth May Be Hard To Achieve
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share is growing, which could point to a growing dividend in the future. Over the past five years, it looks as though Renishaw's EPS has declined at around 2.6% a year. If the company is making less over time, it naturally follows that it will also have to pay out less in dividends. Earnings are predicted to grow over the next year, but we would remain cautious until a track record of earnings growth is established.
The Dividend Could Prove To Be Unreliable
Overall, this is probably not a great income stock, even though the dividend is being raised at the moment. While the low payout ratio is a redeeming feature, this is offset by the minimal cash to cover the payments. Overall, we don't think this company has the makings of a good income stock.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. See if the 3 analysts are forecasting a turnaround in our free collection of analyst estimates here. Is Renishaw not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top dividend stocks.
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