Is It Worth Buying Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) For Its 1.1% Dividend Yield?


Could Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the 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.

Some readers mightn’t know much about Louisiana-Pacific’s 1.1% dividend, as it has only been paying distributions for the last three years. Many of the best dividend stocks typically start out paying a low yield, so we wouldn’t automatically cut it from our list of prospects. During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 3.1% of its market capitalisation. That said, the recent jump in the share price will make Louisiana-Pacific’s dividend yield look smaller, even though the company prospects could be improving. 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.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
NYSE:LPX Historic Dividend April 8th 2021

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Louisiana-Pacific paid out 13% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. We like this low payout ratio, because it implies the dividend is well covered and leaves ample opportunity for reinvestment.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Louisiana-Pacific’s cash payout ratio last year was 11%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It’s positive to see that Louisiana-Pacific’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.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note Louisiana-Pacific’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Louisiana-Pacific’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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 three-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.5 in 2018, compared to US$0.6 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 7.2% per year over this time.

Louisiana-Pacific has been growing its dividend at a decent rate, and the payments have been stable despite the short payment history. This is a positive start.

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 Louisiana-Pacific has been growing its earnings per share at 17% a year over the past five years. Rapid earnings growth and a low payout ratio suggests this company has been effectively reinvesting in its business. Should that continue, this company could have a bright future.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Firstly, we like that Louisiana-Pacific has low and conservative payout ratios. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we’d like. Overall we think Louisiana-Pacific scores well on our analysis. It’s not quite perfect, but we’d definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. Case in point: We’ve spotted 3 warning signs for Louisiana-Pacific (of which 1 doesn’t sit too well with us!) you should know about.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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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. 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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020

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