Is Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SC) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.
With a six-year payment history and a 5.9% yield, many investors probably find Santander Consumer USA Holdings intriguing. We’d agree the yield does look enticing. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 7.0% of market capitalisation this year. Remember though, given the recent drop in its share price, Santander Consumer USA Holdings’s yield will look higher, even though the market may now be expecting a decline in its long-term prospects. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.
Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Santander Consumer USA Holdings!
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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Santander Consumer USA Holdings paid out 29% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.
We update our data on Santander Consumer USA Holdings every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Santander Consumer USA Holdings has been paying a dividend for the past six years. It’s good to see that Santander Consumer USA Holdings has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we’re concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past six-year period, the first annual payment was US$1.42 in 2014, compared to US$0.88 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 7.7% a year during that period. Santander Consumer USA Holdings’s dividend hasn’t shrunk linearly at 7.7% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.
A shrinking dividend over a six-year period is not ideal, and we’d be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.
Dividend Growth Potential
Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. Earnings have grown at around 6.6% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! It’s good to see decent earnings growth and a low payout ratio. Companies with these characteristics often display the fastest dividend growth over the long term – assuming earnings can be maintained, of course.
When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that Santander Consumer USA Holdings has a low and conservative payout ratio. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Santander Consumer USA Holdings out there.
Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. To that end, Santander Consumer USA Holdings has 4 warning signs (and 2 which don’t sit too well with us) we think you should know about.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected] 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.
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