VINCI SA (EPA:DG) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible 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. This means that investors who purchase VINCI's shares on or after the 16th of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 18th of November.
The company's next dividend payment will be €0.65 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of €1.30 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, VINCI stock has a trailing yield of around 1.4% on the current share price of €93.9. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are 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. VINCI paid out 68% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. 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 distributed 36% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies that aren't growing their earnings can still be valuable, but it is even more important to assess the sustainability of the dividend if it looks like the company will struggle to grow. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That explains why we're not overly excited about VINCI's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share. Earnings growth has been slim and the company is paying out more than half of its earnings. While there is some room to both increase the payout ratio and reinvest in the business, generally the higher a payout ratio goes, the lower a company's prospects for future growth.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. VINCI's dividend payments per share have declined at 2.5% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring.
Has VINCI got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been flat and VINCI's dividend payouts are within reasonable limits; without a sharp decline in earnings we feel that the dividend is likely somewhat sustainable. In summary, while it has some positive characteristics, we're not inclined to race out and buy VINCI today.
While it's tempting to invest in VINCI for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for VINCI and you should be aware of them before buying any shares.
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.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.