Even with the Selic in double digits, 15 companies managed to deliver a profitability greater than the basic interest rate just by distributing dividends in 2023, according to a survey by the Meu Dividendo platform.
The only big name on this list, however, is Petrobras, which has consistently distributed profits that exceed Selic’s profitability in recent years.
To calculate profit only from share dividends, it is necessary to consider the price of the paper and how much it generated in dividends and JCP (interest on equity). The result is the DY (Dividend Yield, in English).
There are a few ways to do this calculation, depending on the objective of the analysis. You can divide the total received in earnings since the share was acquired by the purchase price of that share, then multiply it by 100. This way, you obtain the total DY of the investment.
The formula most used by the market, however, is the total earnings in the period calculated in relation to the price of the stock at the end of that same period, to know if the company is a good payer of dividends.
DY = earnings paid in the last 12 months ÷ current share price x 100
According to analysts, for a share to be considered a good dividend payer, its DY has to exceed inflation for the period, delivering real profitability to the investor. Considering the average DYs in the Brazilian market, they set the rule at 6%.
It is necessary to remember that DY does not consider the appreciation of the paper, only the payment of earnings. Therefore, total profitability tends to be higher.
“A return of, on average, 50% of Selic in the dividend portfolio is good. Otherwise, it is more worth investing in companies with good growth potential”, says Rodrigo Assumpção, CPF financial planner at Planejar (Brazilian Association of Financial Planning ).
As Brazil has a history of high interest rates, there are few companies that offer a DY large enough in the long term to attract investors who aim to invest to live off income. With an estimated Selic rate of 9% at the end of this year and inflation of 3.81%, the ideal would be to look for stocks with DYs above 4.5%.
“Just looking at DY champions is not possible, you have to have recurring payments”, says Assumpção.
He recommends that investors look for companies with a dividend distribution plan for the coming years, without the need for extraordinary cash.
Biggest dividend payers
In the case of Petrobras (PETR4), R$7.59498472 were distributed in 2023, according to data from Meu Dividendo. At the end of the year, the stock was at R$37.44, resulting in a DY of 20.29%, above the CDI of 13.04% accumulated in the period.
But the oil company is an exception to the rule. As its largest shareholder is the Union, it keeps a smaller share of the profit than its peers, in order to bear part of the federal government’s expenses, which seeks to avoid the growth of the fiscal deficit — gross debt ended 2023 at 74.3 % of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
The current management has signaled that it will pay the highest possible payments without compromising its strategic investment plan.
According to estimates by Gabriel Redivo, director of Aware Investments, Petrobras should generate a DY of 11% this year. Above this, according to him, should be only Vale (13%), Cyrela (12.8%).
The highest DY of 2023 was 31.57%, from Mahle (LEVE3), formerly Metal Leve. The auto parts company paid R$ 11.20 per share last year and plans to repeat the feat in 2024. As it is not in debt and does not have an investment plan, a large part of the profit generated goes into the shareholders’ pockets and not into its cash.
According to experts, this is not necessarily good for the investor. Without allocating resources to new technologies and expansion, the company may fall behind in its segment and, eventually, cease to be profitable.
In Mahle’s case, there is an extra concern. Recently, the company made a share offering to reduce the stake of its controlling shareholder and raise funds to pay dividends to current shareholders. Something unusual in the financial market.
Wendell Finotti, founder and CEO of Meu Dividendo, recommends investing in “perennial, stable companies, with predictable revenue, in constant growth.”
“Dividends are important, but they should not be the only factor in the investment decision. If the company is indebted and distributes a lot of dividends, it is a warning sign. A good sign is when it has stable cash and regulated finances”, says Finotti
For those looking for good DYs, he recommends the EGGSS, an acronym for the energy sectors, “mainly transmission and generation”, large banks, gas and oil, sanitation and insurance.
In second place among the biggest dividend payers in 2023 is Auren Energia (AURE3), with a DY of 22.54% in 2023, despite a loss of R$317.7 million last year.
According to the company, the loss is due to the collection of taxes on the compensation received by Auren for assets from the Três Irmãos hydroelectric plant.
To continue paying its shareholders, the company uses resources from the profit reserve. Last week, Auren even announced the payment of another hefty sum in March. R$400 million will be distributed, equivalent to R$0.40 per share.
Grendene (GRND3) comes right after Petrobras in the ranking of companies that paid the most dividends last year. The Ipanema manufacturer paid R$1.39 per share in 2023. Considering its closing value for the year, this is equivalent to a DY of 19.62%, according to a survey by Meu Dividendo.
In 2022, it did not appear on the list of companies that surpassed the Selic (13.75%), but in 2021 it did, with a DY of 10%.
According to Gabriel Redivo, management director at Aware Investments, the outlook, however, is not that it will deliver good dividends on a regular basis in the coming years. “Grendene had a tax benefit review that promptly led to a higher profit.”
Another point of attention, according to experts, is not to be guided by the companies’ recent DY alone. Many payments can be extraordinary and even irresponsible, leaving the company’s cash flow weakened.
Before its accounting scandal came to light, Americanas distributed R$550.60 million in dividends at the beginning of 2022, after initially reporting a record profit of R$730.9 million in 2021. According to the restatement of the statements accounting, however, that year the company had a net loss of R$6.23 billion.