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Why You Should Leave Investore Property Limited (NZSE:IPL)'s Upcoming Dividend On The Shelf

Simply Wall St

It looks like Investore Property Limited (NZSE:IPL) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 5th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of September.

Investore Property's next dividend payment will be NZ$0.021 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed NZ$0.076 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Investore Property has a trailing yield of 4.0% on the current share price of NZ$1.91. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for Investore Property

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. It paid out 93% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. That said, REITs are often required by law to distribute all of their earnings, and it's not unusual to see a REIT with a payout ratio around 100%. We wouldn't read too much into this. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Over the last year, it paid out more than three-quarters (93%) of its free cash flow generated, which is fairly high and may be starting to limit reinvestment in the business.

It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NZSE:IPL Historical Dividend Yield, August 31st 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. As a result, it's definitely disappointing to see that earnings per share have declined 16% over the past year.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 3 years ago, Investore Property has lifted its dividend by approximately 14% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. Investore Property is already paying out a high percentage of its income, so without earnings growth, we're doubtful of whether this dividend will grow much in the future.

The Bottom Line

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Investore Property? While earnings per share are shrinking, it's encouraging to see that at least Investore Property's dividend appears sustainable, with earnings and cashflow payout ratios that are within reasonable bounds. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

Curious what other investors think of Investore Property? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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.