Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation's (TSE:AI) investors are due to receive a payment of CA$0.075 per share on 12th of November. This means the annual payment is 6.3% of the current stock price, which is above the average for the industry.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
Impressive dividend yields are good, but this doesn't matter much if the payments can't be sustained. Based on the last payment, Atrium Mortgage Investment's profits didn't cover the dividend, but the company was generating enough cash instead. Given that the dividend is a cash outflow, we think that cash is more important than accounting measures of profit when assessing the dividend, so this is a mitigating factor.
EPS is set to grow by 6.3% over the next year. If recent patterns in the dividend continues, the payout ratio in 12 months could be 92% which is a bit high but can definitely be sustainable.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Dividend Has Lacked Consistency
Looking back, Atrium Mortgage Investment's dividend hasn't been particularly consistent. If the company cuts once, it definitely isn't argument against the possibility of it cutting in the future. Since 2012, the first annual payment was CA$0.83, compared to the most recent full-year payment of CA$0.92. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 1.2% over that duration. Modest growth in the dividend is good to see, but we think this is offset by historical cuts to the payments. It is hard to live on a dividend income if the company's earnings are not consistent.
The Dividend's Growth Prospects Are Limited
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share is growing, which could point to a growing dividend in the future. However, Atrium Mortgage Investment's EPS was effectively flat over the past five years, which could stop the company from paying more every year.
Atrium Mortgage Investment's Dividend Doesn't Look Sustainable
Overall, it's nice to see a consistent dividend payment, but we think that longer term, the current level of payment might be unsustainable. The company is generating plenty of cash, which could maintain the dividend for a while, but the track record hasn't been great. This company is not in the top tier of income providing stocks.
It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. Taking the debate a bit further, we've identified 1 warning sign for Atrium Mortgage Investment that investors need to be conscious of moving forward. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of strong dividend payers.
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