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Know This Before Buying Goodwin PLC (LON:GDWN) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Today we'll take a closer look at Goodwin PLC (LON:GDWN) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

A slim 2.9% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Goodwin could have potential. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Goodwin for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

LSE:GDWN Historical Dividend Yield, November 13th 2019

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. 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 60% of Goodwin's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio 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. Unfortunately, while Goodwin pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it's not ideal from a dividend perspective.

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

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. Goodwin 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 UK£0.28 in 2009, compared to UK£0.96 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 13% per year over this time.

With rapid dividend growth and no notable cuts to the dividend over a lengthy period of time, we think this company has a lot going for it.

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. It's not great to see that Goodwin's have fallen at approximately 9.6% 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

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Goodwin's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. First, we think Goodwin has an acceptable payout ratio, although its dividend was not well covered by cashflow. It's not great to see earnings per share shrinking. The dividends have been relatively consistent, but we wonder for how much longer this will be true. In summary, Goodwin has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Goodwin management tenure, salary, and performance.

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.