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There's A Lot To Like About China Merchants Port Holdings' (HKG:144) Upcoming HK$0.22 Dividend

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (HKG:144) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Thus, you can purchase China Merchants Port Holdings' shares before the 26th of September in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 21st of November.

The company's upcoming dividend is HK$0.22 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of HK$0.94 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that China Merchants Port Holdings has a trailing yield of 8.0% on the current share price of HK$11.7. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether China Merchants Port Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for China Merchants Port Holdings

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. China Merchants Port Holdings paid out a comfortable 43% of its profit last year. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 17% of its cash flow last year.

It's positive to see that China Merchants Port Holdings'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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividendSEHK:144 Historic Dividend September 21st 2022

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks , as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. This is why it's a relief to see China Merchants Port Holdings earnings per share are up 3.6% per annum over the last five years. Recent growth has not been impressive. However, companies that see their growth slow can often choose to pay out a greater percentage of earnings to shareholders, which could see the dividend continue to rise.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. China Merchants Port Holdings's dividend payments are broadly unchanged compared to where they were 10 years ago.

To Sum It Up

Is China Merchants Port Holdings worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and China Merchants Port Holdings is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and China Merchants Port Holdings is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for China Merchants Port Holdings that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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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