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Today we'll take a closer look at NVE Corporation (NASDAQ:NVEC) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.
In this case, NVE likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 6.5% dividend yield and five-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.
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. In the last year, NVE paid out 138% 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. NVE paid out 129% of its free cash flow last year, suggesting the dividend is poorly covered by cash flow. Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given NVE's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would definitely be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.
While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note NVE's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.
We update our data on NVE every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
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. NVE has been paying a dividend for the past five years. Its most recent annual dividend was US$4.00 per share, effectively flat on its first payment five years ago.
It's good to see at least some dividend growth. Yet with a relatively short dividend paying history, we wouldn't want to depend on this dividend too heavily.
Dividend Growth Potential
While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Earnings have grown at around 4.7% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! This level of earnings growth is low, and the company is paying out 138% of its profit. As they say in finance, 'past performance is not indicative of future performance', but we are not confident a company with limited earnings growth and a high payout ratio will be a star dividend-payer over the next decade.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that NVE's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It's a concern to see that the company paid out such a high percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. In this analysis, NVE doesn't shape up too well as a dividend stock. We'd find it hard to look past the flaws, and would not be inclined to think of it as a reliable dividend-payer.
You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in NVE stock.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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