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Zooming in on NYSE:HY's 2.1% Dividend Yield

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (NYSE:HY) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

With a 2.1% yield and a seven-year payment history, investors probably think Hyster-Yale Materials Handling looks like a reliable dividend stock. A 2.1% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Hyster-Yale Materials Handling for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Hyster-Yale Materials Handling!

NYSE:HY Historical Dividend Yield, January 15th 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 67% of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Last year, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.

Is Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Hyster-Yale Materials Handling has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. Hyster-Yale Materials Handling is carrying net debt of 3.14 times its EBITDA, which is getting towards the upper limit of our comfort range on a dividend stock that the investor hopes will endure a wide range of economic circumstances.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.17 times its interest expense, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's financial position 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. Looking at the data, we can see that Hyster-Yale Materials Handling has been paying a dividend for the past seven years. The dividend has been quite stable over the past seven years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past seven-year period, the first annual payment was US$1.00 in 2013, compared to US$1.27 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 3.5% a year over that time.

Modest dividend growth is good to see, especially with the payments being relatively stable. However, the payment history is relatively short and we wouldn't want to rely on this dividend too much.

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. Over the past five years, it looks as though Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's EPS have declined at around 22% a year. 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.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Hyster-Yale Materials Handling's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Hyster-Yale Materials Handling gets a pass on its dividend payout ratio, but it paid out virtually all of its cash flow as dividends. This may just be a one-off, but we'd keep an eye on this. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and the dividend history is shorter than we'd like. There are a few too many issues for us to get comfortable with Hyster-Yale Materials Handling from a dividend perspective. Businesses can change, but we would struggle to identify why an investor should rely on this stock for their income.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Hyster-Yale Materials Handling 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 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.