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CLP Holdings Limited (HKG:2) Is Yielding 3.5% - But Is It A Buy?

Simply Wall St

Could CLP Holdings Limited ( HKG:2 ) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for CLP Holdings. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying CLP Holdings for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on CLP Holdings!

SEHK:2 Historical Dividend Yield, May 19th 2019

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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, CLP Holdings paid out 56% of its profit as dividends. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend 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. The company paid out 59% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash CLP Holdings has available to meet other needs.


Remember, you can always get a snapshot of CLP Holdings's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health .

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of CLP Holdings's dividend payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$2.08 in 2009, compared to HK$3.02 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 3.8% a year over that time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.

It's good to see some dividend growth, but the dividend has been cut at least once, and the size of the cut would eliminate most of the growth, anyway. We're not that enthused by this.

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. It's good to see CLP Holdings has been growing its earnings per share at 17% a year over the past 5 years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly, but given that it is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends, we wonder how CLP Holdings will keep funding its growth projects in the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that CLP Holdings's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. CLP Holdings's is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered both by reported earnings and cashflow. 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. Ultimately, CLP Holdings 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.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 11 CLP Holdings 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.