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Why Dividend Hunters Love Bank OZK (NASDAQ:OZK)

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll take a closer look at Bank OZK (NASDAQ:OZK) 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. 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.

A 3.0% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Bank OZK has some staying power. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Bank OZK for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Bank OZK!

NasdaqGS:OZK Historical Dividend Yield, May 30th 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. Bank OZK paid out 26% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

We update our data on Bank OZK every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Bank OZK has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.13 in 2009, compared to US$0.92 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 22% a year over that time.

It's rare to find a company that has grown its dividends rapidly over ten years and not had any notable cuts, but Bank OZK has done it, which we really like.

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. It's good to see Bank OZK has been growing its earnings per share at 21% a year over the past 5 years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Bank OZK's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see Bank OZK has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. We like that it has been delivering solid improvement in its earnings per share, and relatively consistent dividend payments. Overall, we think there are a lot of positives to Bank OZK from a dividend perspective.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 10 analysts we track are forecasting for Bank OZK for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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.