Readers hoping to buy Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Accordingly, Beach Energy investors that purchase the stock on or after the 30th of August will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of September.
The company's upcoming dividend is AU$0.01 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of AU$0.02 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Beach Energy has a trailing yield of approximately 1.8% on its current stock price of A$1.095. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Beach Energy has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
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. Beach Energy has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 14% of its income after tax. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Dividends consumed 53% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.
It's positive to see that Beach Energy'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 earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's encouraging to see Beach Energy has grown its earnings rapidly, up 29% a year 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. Beach Energy has delivered 1.3% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. 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.
Is Beach Energy an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Beach Energy is facing. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Beach Energy you should be aware of.
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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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