Is Ingersoll-Rand Plc (NYSE:IR) An Attractive Dividend Stock …

Dividend paying stocks like Ingersoll-Rand Plc (NYSE:IR) 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. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it’s important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you’ll find our analysis useful.

So you might want to consider getting our latest analysis on Ingersoll-Rand’s financial health here.

While Ingersoll-Rand’s 1.8% dividend yield is not the highest, we think its lengthy payment history is quite interesting. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 2.1% of the company’s market capitalisation at the time. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Ingersoll-Rand for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Ingersoll-Rand!

NYSE:IR Historical Dividend Yield, October 3rd 2019NYSE:IR Historical Dividend Yield, October 3rd 2019

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. Ingersoll-Rand paid out 36% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Of the free cash flow it generated last year, Ingersoll-Rand paid out 47% as dividends, suggesting the dividend is affordable. It’s encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don’t drop precipitously.

Is Ingersoll-Rand’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Ingersoll-Rand has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) 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. Ingersoll-Rand has net debt of 2.03 times its EBITDA. Using debt can accelerate business growth, but also increases the risks.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. Ingersoll-Rand has EBIT of 9.83 times its interest expense, which we think is adequate.

Dividend Volatility

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Ingersoll-Rand’s dividend payments. Its dividend payments have fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.72 in 2009, compared to US$2.12 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 11% a year over that time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.

So, its dividends have grown at a rapid rate over this time, but payments have been cut in the past. The stock may still be worth considering as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Ingersoll-Rand has grown its earnings per share at 23% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have rocketed in recent times, and we like that the company is retaining more than half of its earnings to reinvest. However, always remember that very few companies can grow at double digit rates forever.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Ingersoll-Rand’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It’s great to see that Ingersoll-Rand is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Overall we think Ingersoll-Rand scores well on our analysis. It’s not quite perfect, but we’d definitely be keen to take a closer look.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 20 Ingersoll-Rand analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Thank you for reading.

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