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It looks like Vtech Holdings Limited (HKG:303) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 16th of July in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 29th of July.
Vtech Holdings's next dividend payment will be US$0.50 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.67 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Vtech Holdings has a trailing yield of approximately 7.3% on its current stock price of HK$71.3. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Vtech Holdings paid out 98% of its earnings, which is more than we're comfortable with, unless there are mitigating circumstances. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Vtech Holdings generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. The company paid out 95% of its free cash flow over the last year, which we think is outside the ideal range for most businesses. Cash flows are usually much more volatile than earnings, so this could be a temporary effect - but we'd generally want look more closely here.
Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Vtech Holdings's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. That's why it's not ideal to see Vtech Holdings's earnings per share have been shrinking at 3.5% a year over the previous five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Vtech Holdings has delivered an average of 0.6% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments.
Has Vtech Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's looking like an unattractive opportunity, with its earnings per share declining, while, paying out an uncomfortably high percentage of both its profits (98%) and cash flow (95%) as dividends. This is a clearly suboptimal combination that usually suggests the dividend is at risk of being cut. If not now, then perhaps in the future. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of Vtech Holdings.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Vtech Holdings? See what the four analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.