U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 18 mins

Something To Consider Before Buying 360 Capital Group Limited (ASX:TGP) For The 3.5% Dividend

Simply Wall St

Is 360 Capital Group Limited (ASX:TGP) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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 goodly-sized dividend yield despite a relatively short payment history, investors might be wondering if 360 Capital Group is a new dividend aristocrat in the making. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story . Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding 360 Capital Group for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on 360 Capital Group!

ASX:TGP Historical Dividend Yield, November 24th 2019

Payout ratios

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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. In the last year, 360 Capital Group paid out 191% of its profit as dividends. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. With a cash payout ratio of 191%, 360 Capital Group's dividend payments are poorly covered by cash flow. Paying out such a high percentage of cash flow suggests that the dividend was funded from either cash at bank or by borrowing, neither of which is desirable over the long term. Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given 360 Capital Group's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would definitely be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.

It is worth considering that 360 Capital Group is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). REITs have different rules governing their payments, and are often required to pay out a high portion of their earnings to investors.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note 360 Capital Group's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

Consider getting our latest analysis on 360 Capital Group's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

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. 360 Capital Group has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. It's good to see that 360 Capital Group has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past seven-year period, the first annual payment was AU$0.05 in 2012, compared to AU$0.04 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 3.1% a year during that period. 360 Capital Group's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 3.1% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.

A shrinking dividend over a seven-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. 360 Capital Group's EPS have fallen by approximately 43% per year during the past five years. A sharp decline in earnings per share is not great from from a dividend perspective, as even conservative payout ratios can come under pressure if earnings fall far enough.

We'd also point out that 360 Capital Group issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental - it's hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

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. It's a concern to see that the company paid out such a high percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. Using these criteria, 360 Capital Group looks quite suboptimal from a dividend investment perspective.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in 360 Capital Group stock.

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 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.

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. Thank you for reading.