The board of PayPoint plc (LON:PAY) has announced that it will be paying its dividend of £0.092 on the 6th of March, an increased payment from last year's comparable dividend. This will take the annual payment to 6.9% of the stock price, which is above what most companies in the industry pay.
PayPoint's Payment Has Solid Earnings Coverage
Impressive dividend yields are good, but this doesn't matter much if the payments can't be sustained. PayPoint was earning enough to cover the previous dividend, but it was paying out quite a large proportion of its free cash flows. The company is clearly earning enough to pay this type of dividend, but it is definitely focused on returning cash to shareholders, rather than growing the business.
The next year is set to see EPS grow by 26.0%. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio will be 52%, which is in the range that makes us comfortable with the sustainability of the dividend.
The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from £0.265 total annually to £0.368. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 3.3% over that duration. The dividend has seen some fluctuations in the past, so even though the dividend was raised this year, we should remember that it has been cut in the past.
Dividend Growth Is Doubtful
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share is growing. Over the past five years, it looks as though PayPoint's EPS has declined at around 9.6% a year. Declining earnings will inevitably lead to the company paying a lower dividend in line with lower profits. Earnings are forecast to grow over the next 12 months and if that happens we could still be a little bit cautious until it becomes a pattern.
Our Thoughts On PayPoint's Dividend
In summary, while it's always good to see the dividend being raised, we don't think PayPoint's payments are rock solid. While PayPoint is earning enough to cover the dividend, we are generally unimpressed with its future prospects. We would be a touch cautious of relying on this stock primarily for the dividend income.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 2 warning signs for PayPoint that investors need to be conscious of moving forward. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our collection of strong dividend payers.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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