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Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Giordano International Limited (HKG:709) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 2 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 29th of May will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 19th of June.
Giordano International's next dividend payment will be HK$0.044 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of HK$0.088 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Giordano International has a trailing yield of 7.5% on the current share price of HK$1.18. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! As a result, readers should always check whether Giordano International has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Last year, Giordano International paid out 100% of its income as dividends, which is above a level that we're comfortable with, especially if the company needs to reinvest in its business. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 42% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's good to see that while Giordano International's dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. If executives were to continue paying more in dividends than the company reported in profits, we'd view this as a warning sign. Extraordinarily few companies are capable of persistently paying a dividend that is greater than their profits.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Giordano International's 11% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last ten years, Giordano International has lifted its dividend by approximately 2.3% a year on average. The only way to pay higher dividends when earnings are shrinking is either to pay out a larger percentage of profits, spend cash from the balance sheet, or borrow the money. Giordano International is already paying out 100% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Giordano International? It's never great to see earnings per share declining, especially when a company is paying out 100% of its profit as dividends, which we feel is uncomfortably high. However, the cash payout ratio was much lower - good news from a dividend perspective - which makes us wonder why there is such a mis-match between income and cashflow. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.
So if you're still interested in Giordano International despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Giordano International (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) you should know about.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.