It looks like Goodfellow Inc. (TSE:GDL) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 27th of February to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of March.
Goodfellow’s upcoming dividend is CA$0.10 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$0.20 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, Goodfellow has a trailing yield of 3.8% on the current stock price of CA$5.3. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That’s why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Goodfellow paid out more than half (56%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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 6.9% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It’s positive to see that Goodfellow’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?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we’re discomforted by Goodfellow’s 14% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.
The main way most investors will assess a company’s dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Goodfellow has seen its dividend decline 6.7% per annum on average over the past ten years, which is not great to see. While it’s not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we’re encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Goodfellow? The payout ratios are within a reasonable range, implying the dividend may be sustainable. Declining earnings are a serious concern, however, and could pose a threat to the dividend in future. In summary, while it has some positive characteristics, we’re not inclined to race out and buy Goodfellow today.
Want to learn more about Goodfellow? Here’s a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
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.
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.
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