Could EQT Holdings Limited (ASX:EQT) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.
With a four-year payment history and a 4.7% yield, many investors probably find EQT Holdings intriguing. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. Remember though, given the recent drop in its share price, EQT Holdings's yield will look higher, even though the market may now be expecting a decline in its long-term prospects. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying EQT Holdings for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.
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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. EQT Holdings paid out 85% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. 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.
We update our data on EQT Holdings every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. EQT Holdings has been paying a dividend for the past four years. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.68 in 2016, compared to AU$0.94 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 8.4% per year over this time.
The dividend has been growing at a reasonable rate, which we like. We're conscious though that one of the best ways to detect a multi-decade consistent dividend-payer, is to watch a company pay dividends for 20 years - a distinction EQT Holdings has not achieved yet.
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. EQT Holdings has grown its earnings per share at 4.3% per annum over the past five years. Earnings are not growing quickly at all, and the company is paying out most of its profit as dividends. That's fine as far as it goes, but we're less enthusiastic as this often signals that the dividend is likely to grow slower in the future.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that EQT Holdings's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we think EQT Holdings has an acceptable payout ratio. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. In summary, we're unenthused by EQT Holdings as a dividend stock. It's not that we think it is a bad company; it simply falls short of our criteria in some key areas.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. To that end, EQT Holdings has 3 warning signs (and 1 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.
If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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