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Can the Centrica dividend keep on growing?

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Over the previous few years, shares In vitality firm Centrica (LSE: CNA) have moved round quite a bit. In slightly below 4 years, the worth has quadrupled. The Centrica dividend has been rising, rising by a 3rd final yr.

The present dividend yield is round 3%. If I had purchased the shares for pennies again in 2020 although, my funding would now be yielding over 9%.

Such is the facility of a low share value. Not solely can it enhance, it will possibly additionally imply a greater future yield than shopping for the identical shares at a better value.

Dividend motion

The Centrica dividend has been inconsistent although. We noticed good progress final yr, however after a interval the place there was no shareholder payout.

Even after final yr’s sturdy progress, the present annual Centrica dividend of 4p per share is nowhere close to what it was. It’s not at even 1 / 4 of what it was simply over a decade in the past.

Dramatically completely different enterprise

Why would dividends transfer round a lot? Some corporations produce steady or typically rising earnings and money flows. That helps them fund dividend progress. Shares like Diageo and Spirax-Sarco have raised their annual dividends for many years.

Not all companies have such traits. So whereas international oil and fuel large Exxon has raised its annual dividend for many years, many vitality companies have cyclical earnings. Excessive vitality costs can result in booming earnings, whereas a weak market can see earnings plummet.

Centrica has not solely needed to take care of vitality market value cycles. It’s closely uncovered to part of the vitality market that has seen long-term structural demand falls, specifically fuel.

Authorities statisticians estimate that between 2005 and 2022, UK fuel consumption fell 32.9% in complete. It had been falling earlier than that interval and stays in decline.

However some massive enterprise gross sales over the previous few years imply that Centrica is a unique enterprise to what it was.

All of that has led the corporate’s earnings per share to maneuver round considerably.

Robust stability sheet

That issues as a result of earnings and money flows are central to what occurs to the Centrica dividend.

The asset gross sales, mixed with excessive vitality costs, have been a boon for the British Gasoline proprietor’s stability sheet. It ended final yr with web money of £2.8bn, in comparison with £1.2bn on the identical level the prior yr.

However though Centrica boosted its dividend, it additionally spent £1bn final yr shopping for again shares. So rising the dividend is just one of its money spending priorities.

Dividend prospects

The FTSE 100 agency does have a progressive dividend coverage, which means that it goals to extend the payout yearly.

In apply, although, that can finally rely on enterprise efficiency.

Centrica is concentrating on a dividend that’s round half of earnings per share. Such earnings, as we noticed above, have moved round quite a bit previously and will accomplish that in future.

Its put in buyer base, sturdy manufacturers and excessive vitality costs are all working within the agency’s favour for now. I do anticipate the Centrica dividend to continue to grow in years to return.

However I don’t just like the dangers within the enterprise, particularly its sturdy reliance on promoting a commodity vitality that’s seeing long-term demand falls. I’ve no plans to purchase the shares.


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