Today we'll take a closer look at Aedifica SA ( EBR:AED ) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.
A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Aedifica. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.
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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. Looking at the data, we can see that 38% of Aedifica's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.
Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Aedifica's cash payout ratio in the last year was 47%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. 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.
Is Aedifica's Balance Sheet Risky?
As Aedifica has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick way to check a company's financial situation uses these two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments on debt. Essentially we check that a) a company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. Aedifica has net debt of greater than 10x its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), which we think carries substantial risk if earnings aren't sustainable.
We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. Aedifica has EBIT of 9.14 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate. Despite a decent level of interest cover, we think that shareholders should remain cautious of the high level of net debt. Rising rates or tighter debt markets have a nasty habit of making fools of highly-indebted dividend stocks.
We update our data on Aedifica every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
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. Aedifica has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €1.80 in 2009, compared to €2.50 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 3.3% per year over this time.
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. Aedifica has grown its earnings per share at 5.2% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.
We'd also point out that Aedifica issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Trying to grow the dividend when issuing new shares reminds us of the ancient Greek tale of Sisyphus - perpetually pushing a boulder uphill. Companies that consistently issue new shares are often suboptimal from a dividend perspective.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Aedifica's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that Aedifica has low and conservative payout ratios. Earnings growth has been limited, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. All things considered, Aedifica looks like a strong prospect. At the right valuation, it could be something special.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 3 Aedifica analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company .
If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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 email@example.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.