Brooks Automation, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKS) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days time. If you purchase the stock on or after the 5th of December, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 20th of December.
Brooks Automation’s next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.40 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Brooks Automation has a trailing yield of approximately 0.9% on its current stock price of $45.51. 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! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it’s growing.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. An unusually high payout ratio of 291% of its profit suggests something is happening other than the usual distribution of profits to shareholders. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Brooks Automation generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It distributed 43% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It’s good to see that while Brooks Automation’s dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we’d be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. That’s why it’s comforting to see Brooks Automation’s earnings have been skyrocketing, up 46% per annum for the past five years.
Many investors will assess a company’s dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past eight years, Brooks Automation has increased its dividend at approximately 2.8% a year on average. It’s good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved – although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
The Bottom Line
Has Brooks Automation got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been rising nicely although, even though its cashflow payout ratio is low, we question why Brooks Automation is paying out so much of its profit. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about Brooks Automation from a dividend perspective.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Brooks Automation? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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