Should Randstad N.V. (AMS:RAND) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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Is Randstad N.V. (AMS:RAND) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.

In this case, Randstad likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 7.5% dividend yield and eight-year payment history. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story . Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Randstad for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Randstad!

ENXTAM:RAND Historical Dividend Yield, July 12th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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. In the last year, Randstad paid out 60% of its profit as dividends. 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. Randstad paid out 61% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It's positive to see that Randstad's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

We update our data on Randstad every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, 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. The first recorded dividend for Randstad, in the last decade, was eight years ago. It's good to see that Randstad has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past eight-year period, the first annual payment was €1.18 in 2011, compared to €3.38 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 14% a year over that time. The dividends haven't grown at precisely 14% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.

Randstad has grown distributions at a rapid rate despite cutting the dividend at least once in the past. Companies that cut once often cut again, but it might be worth considering if the business has turned a corner.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Randstad has grown its earnings per share at 25% per annum over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 60%, this business looks like an interesting prospect if earnings are reinvested effectively.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. First, we think Randstad is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Randstad out there.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 16 Randstad analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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.