Today we'll take a closer look at Klingelnberg AG (VTX:KLIN) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.
Klingelnberg has only been paying a dividend for a year or so, so investors might be curious about its 4.1% yield. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.
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. 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. Klingelnberg paid out 50% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Klingelnberg paid out 491% of its free cash last year. Cash flows can be lumpy, but this dividend was not well covered by cash flow. Paying out such a high percentage of cash flow suggests that the dividend was funded from either cash at bank or by borrowing, neither of which is desirable over the long term. While Klingelnberg's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, free cash flow is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were it to repeatedly pay dividends that were not well covered by cash flow, this could be a risk to Klingelnberg's ability to maintain its dividend.
Consider getting our latest analysis on Klingelnberg's financial position here.
From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. This company has been paying a dividend for less than 2 years, which we think is too soon to consider it a reliable dividend stock. Its most recent annual dividend was €0.90 per share.
We like that the dividend hasn't been shrinking. However we're conscious that the company hasn't got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.
Dividend Growth Potential
Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient's purchasing power. Klingelnberg's earnings per share are up 5.2% on last year. It's good to see earnings per share rising, but one year is too short a period to get excited about. Were this trend to continue, we'd be interested. It's good to see decent earnings growth and a low payout ratio. Companies with these characteristics often display the fastest dividend growth over the long term - assuming earnings can be maintained, of course. Any one year of performance can be misleading for a variety of reasons, so we wouldn't like to form any strong conclusions based on these numbers alone.
Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. First, we like Klingelnberg's low dividend payout ratio, although we're a bit concerned that it paid out a substantially higher percentage of its free cash flow. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. Ultimately, Klingelnberg comes up short on our dividend analysis. It's not that we think it is a bad company - just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.
Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 4 analysts we track are forecasting for Klingelnberg for free with public analyst estimates for the company.
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 email@example.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.
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