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How Does Origin Enterprises plc (ISE:OIZ) Fare As A Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

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Could Origin Enterprises plc ( ISE:OIZ ) 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. 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, Origin Enterprises likely looks attractive to investors, given its 4.2% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Origin Enterprises for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

ISE:OIZ Historical Dividend Yield, July 10th 2019

Payout ratios

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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Origin Enterprises paid out 45% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. With a cash payout ratio of 1899%, Origin Enterprises's dividend payments are poorly covered by cash flow. Paying out more than 100% of your free cash flow in dividends is generally not a long-term, sustainable state of affairs, so we think shareholders should watch this metric closely. While Origin Enterprises's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, free cash flow is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were it to repeatedly pay dividends that were not well covered by cash flow, this could be a risk to Origin Enterprises's ability to maintain its dividend.

Is Origin Enterprises's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Origin Enterprises has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) 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. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 2.81 times its EBITDA, Origin Enterprises's debt burden is within a normal range for most listed companies.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. Origin Enterprises has EBIT of 7.16 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Origin Enterprises'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 Origin Enterprises's dividend payments. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €0.08 in 2009, compared to €0.21 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10% a year over that time.

It's not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We're generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. It's not great to see that Origin Enterprises's have fallen at approximately 2.2% over the past five years. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Origin Enterprises has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Earnings per share are down, and Origin Enterprises's dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. With this information in mind, we think Origin Enterprises may not be an ideal dividend stock.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. Businesses can change though, and we think it would make sense to see what analysts are forecasting 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 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.