It Might Not Be A Great Idea To Buy Sunningdale Tech Ltd (SGX:BHQ) For Its Next Dividend

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Sunningdale Tech Ltd (SGX:BHQ) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 27th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 11th of September.

Sunningdale Tech's next dividend payment will be S$0.03 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed S$0.08 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Sunningdale Tech has a trailing yield of 6.2% on the current share price of SGD1.3. 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! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for Sunningdale Tech

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. Its dividend payout ratio is 86% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. 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. Sunningdale Tech paid out more free cash flow than it generated - 178%, to be precise - last year, which we think is concerningly high. It's hard to consistently pay out more cash than you generate without either borrowing or using company cash, so we'd wonder how the company justifies this payout level.

Sunningdale Tech paid out less in dividends than it reported in profits, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough cash to cover the dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were Sunningdale Tech to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

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

SGX:BHQ Historical Dividend Yield, August 22nd 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That explains why we're not overly excited about Sunningdale Tech's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share. Earnings have been growing somewhat, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Sunningdale Tech has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average.

To Sum It Up

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Sunningdale Tech? Sunningdale Tech is paying out a reasonable percentage of its income yet an uncomfortably high 178% of its cash flow as dividends. What's more, earnings have barely grown. It's not the most attractive proposition from a dividend perspective, and we'd probably give this one a miss for now.

Wondering what the future holds for Sunningdale Tech? See what the two analysts we track 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.