Dividend paying stocks like Vistin Pharma ASA (OB:VISTN) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.
With a 2.0% yield and a five-year payment history, investors probably think Vistin Pharma looks like a reliable dividend stock. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Vistin Pharma’s yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.
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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Although Vistin Pharma pays a dividend, it was loss-making during the past year. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.
While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note Vistin Pharma’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Vistin Pharma’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. Vistin Pharma has been paying a dividend for the past five years. During the past five-year period, the first annual payment was kr0.6 in 2016, compared to kr0.5 last year. This works out to be a decline of approximately 3.6% per year over that time. Vistin Pharma’s dividend hasn’t shrunk linearly at 3.6% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.
When a company’s per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either external business conditions, or the company’s capital allocation decisions. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.
Dividend Growth Potential
Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Vistin Pharma’s EPS have fallen by approximately 65% per year during the past five years. A sharp decline in earnings per share is not great from from a dividend perspective, as even conservative payout ratios can come under pressure if earnings fall far enough.
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, it’s not great to see a dividend being paid despite the company being unprofitable over the last year. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. With this information in mind, we think Vistin Pharma may not be an ideal dividend stock.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. Just as an example, we’ve come accross 4 warning signs for Vistin Pharma you should be aware of, and 2 of them are a bit concerning.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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