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Why CompX International Inc. (NYSEMKT:CIX) Is A Dividend Rockstar

Simply Wall St

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Could CompX International Inc. (NYSEMKT:CIX) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A 1.8% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests CompX International has some staying power. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

AMEX:CIX Historical Dividend Yield, July 3rd 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. CompX International paid out 18% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. We'd say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. CompX International's cash payout ratio last year was 22%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It's positive to see that CompX International's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of CompX International's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of CompX International's dividend payments. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.50 in 2009, compared to US$0.28 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 5.6% a year during that period.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either the business or management. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see CompX International has grown its earnings per share at 21% per annum over the past five years. The company is only paying out a fraction of its earnings as dividends, and in the past been able to use the retained earnings to grow its profits rapidly - an ideal combination.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that CompX International'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 great to see that CompX International is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. All things considered, CompX International looks like a strong prospect. At the right valuation, it could be something special.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in CompX International in our latest insider ownership analysis.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.