July 15, 2024

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Shareholders Are Loving SIT S.p.A.’s (BIT:SIT) 4.4% Yield

Dividend paying stocks like SIT S.p.A. (BIT:SIT) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

In this case, SIT pays a decent-sized 4.4% dividend yield, and has been distributing cash to shareholders for the past two years. It’s certainly an attractive yield, but readers are likely curious about its staying power. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying SIT for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on SIT!

BIT:SIT Historical Dividend Yield, February 21st 2020

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. SIT paid out 29% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. SIT’s cash payout ratio in the last year was 28%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business. It’s positive to see that SIT’s dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Is SIT’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As SIT has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company’s total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. SIT has net debt of 1.63 times its EBITDA, which is generally an okay level of debt for most companies.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.89 times its interest expense, SIT’s interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.

We update our data on SIT every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can’t be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past two-year period, the first annual payment was €0.25 in 2018, compared to €0.28 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 5.8% a year over that time.

The dividend has been growing at a reasonable rate, which we like. We’re conscious though that one of the best ways to detect a multi-decade consistent dividend-payer, is to watch a company pay dividends for 20 years – a distinction SIT has not achieved yet.

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 good to see SIT has been growing its earnings per share at 473% a year over the past three years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

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 SIT has low and conservative payout ratios. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we’d like. Overall we think SIT scores well on our analysis. It’s not quite perfect, but we’d definitely be keen to take a closer look.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in SIT stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.

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. Thank you for reading.

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