Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you’re one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Polaris Inc. (NYSE:PII) is about to go ex-dividend in just four days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 31st of August, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 15th of September.
Polaris’s next dividend payment will be US$0.62 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$2.48 per share. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, Polaris stock has a trailing yield of around 2.4% on the current share price of $103.65. 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 Polaris can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Polaris lost money last year, so the fact that it’s paying a dividend is certainly disconcerting. There might be a good reason for this, but we’d want to look into it further before getting comfortable. Given that the company reported a loss last year, we now need to see if it generated enough free cash flow to fund the dividend. If Polaris didn’t generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 27% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Polaris reported a loss last year, and the general trend suggests its earnings have also been declining in recent years, making us wonder if the dividend is at risk.
The main way most investors will assess a company’s dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Polaris has delivered 12% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years.
Is Polaris an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? First, it’s not great to see the company paying a dividend despite being loss-making over the last year. On the plus side, the dividend was covered by free cash flow.” With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we’d be inclined to steer clear of Polaris.
Having said that, if you’re looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Polaris. To help with this, we’ve discovered 3 warning signs for Polaris (1 is potentially serious!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the shares.
If you’re in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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