Read This Before Buying Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings Co., Ltd. (HKG:520) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Is Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings Co., Ltd. (HKG:520) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

With a 1.8% yield and a four-year payment history, investors probably think Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings looks like a reliable dividend stock. While the yield may not look too great, the relatively long payment history is interesting. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings for its dividend - read on to learn more.

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SEHK:520 Historical Dividend Yield, September 10th 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 40% of Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. The company paid out 56% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings has available to meet other needs. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Consider getting our latest analysis on Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Looking at the data, we can see that Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings has been paying a dividend for the past four years. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we'd like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.094 in 2015, compared to CN¥0.17 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 17% a year over that time.

We're not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. It's good to see Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings has been growing its earnings per share at 18% a year over the past 5 years. A company paying out less than a quarter of its earnings as dividends, and growing earnings at more than 10% per annum, looks to be right in the cusp of its growth phase. At the right price, we might be interested.

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. Firstly, we like that Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings pays out a low fraction of earnings. It pays out a higher percentage of its cashflow, although this is within acceptable bounds. Second, the company has not been able to generate earnings growth, and its history of dividend payments too short for us to thoroughly evaluate the dividend's consistency across an economic cycle. Overall we think Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 14 Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 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.