Watkin Jones (LON:WJG) Is Paying Out Less In Dividends Than Last Year
Watkin Jones Plc’s (LON:WJG) dividend is being reduced from last year’s payment covering the same period to £0.014 on the 30th of June. However, the dividend yield of 8.7% is still a decent boost to shareholder returns.
While the dividend yield is important for income investors, it is also important to consider any large share price moves, as this will generally outweigh any gains from distributions. Watkin Jones’ stock price has reduced by 32% in the last 3 months, which is not ideal for investors and can explain a sharp increase in the dividend yield.
Check out our latest analysis for Watkin Jones
Watkin Jones’ 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 this announcement, Watkin Jones was paying out 73% of earnings, but a comparatively small 50% of free cash flows. Since the dividend is just paying out cash to shareholders, we care more about the cash payout ratio from which we can see plenty is being left over for reinvestment in the business.
The next year is set to see EPS grow by 67.9%. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio will be 38%, which is in the range that makes us comfortable with the sustainability of the dividend.
Watkin Jones’ Dividend Has Lacked Consistency
Even in its relatively short history, the company has reduced the dividend at least once. If the company cuts once, it definitely isn’t argument against the possibility of it cutting in the future. Since 2016, the dividend has gone from £0.0266 total annually to £0.059. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 12% a year over that time. It is great to see strong growth in the dividend payments, but cuts are concerning as it may indicate the payout policy is too ambitious.
Dividend Growth May Be Hard To Come By
With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share is growing. In the last five years, Watkin Jones’ earnings per share has shrunk at approximately 7.0% per annum. If the company is making less over time, it naturally follows that it will also have to pay out less in dividends. Earnings are forecast to grow over the next 12 months and if that happens we could still be a little bit cautious until it becomes a pattern.
Overall, it’s not great to see that the dividend has been cut, but this might be explained by the payments being a bit high previously. The payments haven’t been particularly stable and we don’t see huge growth potential, but with the dividend well covered by cash flows it could prove to be reliable over the short term. We don’t think Watkin Jones is a great stock to add to your portfolio if income is your focus.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Taking the debate a bit further, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Watkin Jones that investors need to be conscious of moving forward. Is Watkin Jones 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.
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