Readers hoping to buy Cabot Corporation (NYSE:CBT) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 29th of August, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 13th of September.
Cabot’s next dividend payment will be US$0.35 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.40 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Cabot has a trailing yield of approximately 3.7% on its current stock price of $37.9. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it’s also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn’t going to kill our golden goose! So we need to investigate whether Cabot can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Fortunately Cabot’s payout ratio is modest, at just 37% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It paid out 82% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company’s ability to lift the dividend if there’s no growth.
It’s positive to see that Cabot’s dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we’re encouraged by the steady growth at Cabot, with earnings per share up 8.7% on average over the last five years. Decent historical earnings per share growth suggests Cabot has been effectively growing value for shareholders. However, it’s now paying out more than half its earnings as dividends. Therefore it’s unlikely that the company will be able to reinvest heavily in its business, which could presage slower growth in the future.
Many investors will assess a company’s dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Cabot has delivered an average of 6.9% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. We’re glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
Should investors buy Cabot for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share have been growing at a steady rate, and Cabot paid out less than half its profits and more than half its free cash flow as dividends over the last year. While it does have some good things going for it, we’re a bit ambivalent and it would take more to convince us of Cabot’s dividend merits.
Wondering what the future holds for Cabot? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
We wouldn’t recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here’s a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.