The Character Group plc's (LON:CCT) dividend will be increasing to UK£0.07 on 29th of July. This will take the dividend yield from 2.8% to 3.2%, providing a nice boost to shareholder returns.
Character Group's Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
While it is great to have a strong dividend yield, we should also consider whether the payment is sustainable. However, prior to this announcement, Character Group's dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. This means that most of what the business earns is being used to help it grow.
EPS is set to fall by 17.8% over the next 12 months. If the dividend continues along the path it has been on recently, we estimate the payout ratio could be 32%, which is comfortable for the company to continue in the future.
The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from UK£0.06 to UK£0.14. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 8.8% a year over that time. A reasonable rate of dividend growth is good to see, but we're wary that the dividend history is not as solid as we'd like, having been cut at least once.
The Dividend Has Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share is growing, which could point to a growing dividend in the future. Character Group has seen EPS rising for the last five years, at 6.7% per annum. A low payout ratio and decent growth suggests that the company is reinvesting well, and it also has plenty of room to increase the dividend over time.
Our Thoughts On Character Group's Dividend
In summary, it's great to see that the company can raise the dividend and keep it in a sustainable range. The dividend has been at reasonable levels historically, but that hasn't translated into a consistent payment. Taking all of this into consideration, the dividend looks viable moving forward, but investors should be mindful that the company has pushed the boundaries of sustainability in the past and may do so again.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Just as an example, we've come across 3 warning signs for Character Group you should be aware of, and 2 of them shouldn't be ignored. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high yield dividend stocks.
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