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MONDAY MULTIPLE

More to dividends than meets the eye

Investors have to pay attention to the payout ratio and associate/joint-venture contributions when assessing stocks

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An investor not aware of the various issues faced by SIA Engineering's sizeable associate and joint-venture companies will not be able to evaluate how well the group will do, or how badly things will get. And there are no quarterly numbers to pore through.

A FEW years ago, I was casually looking through the financial statements of SIA Engineering.

What impressed me then, from that quick glance, was how the Straits Times Index (STI) component stock had negligible debt - just S$2.3 million - and a cash hoard of almost S$400 million.