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Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT) will increase its dividend on the 1st of April to AU$1.12. This will take the annual payment to 5.8% of the stock price, which is above what most companies in the industry pay.
Perpetual's Dividend Is Well Covered By Earnings
We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. Before making this announcement, the company's dividend was much higher than its earnings. This situation certainly isn't ideal, and could place significant strain on the balance sheet if it continues.
Over the next year, EPS is forecast to expand by 16.8%. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, our estimates say the payout ratio could reach 88%. This is definitely on the higher side, but we wouldn't necessarily say this is unsustainable.
Although the company has a long dividend history, it has been cut at least once in the last 10 years. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from AU$1.80 to AU$2.24. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 2.2% per annum over that time. It's encouraging to see some dividend growth, but the dividend has been cut at least once, and the size of the cut would eliminate most of the growth anyway, which makes this less attractive as an income investment.
Dividend Growth Is Doubtful
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. Over the past five years, it looks as though Perpetual's EPS has declined at around 8.3% a year. Declining earnings will inevitably lead to the company paying a lower dividend in line with lower profits. Earnings are predicted to grow over the next year, but we would remain cautious until a track record of earnings growth is established.
Perpetual's Dividend Doesn't Look Great
Overall, while the dividend being raised can be good, there are some concerns about its long term sustainability. The company isn't making enough to be paying as much as it is, and the other factors don't look particularly promising either. Overall, this doesn't get us very excited from an income standpoint.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. For instance, we've picked out 1 warning sign for Perpetual that investors should take into consideration. Is Perpetual not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top dividend stocks.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.