Readers hoping to buy Porvair plc (LON:PRV) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. 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 of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Thus, you can purchase Porvair's shares before the 22nd of July in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 27th of August.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.018 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of UK£0.051 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Porvair has a trailing yield of 0.8% on the current share price of £6.13. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Porvair is paying out just 24% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 20% of its cash flow last year.
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?
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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. This is why it's a relief to see Porvair earnings per share are up 6.8% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share have been growing at a decent rate, and the company is retaining more than three-quarters of its earnings in the business. This is an attractive combination, because when profits are reinvested effectively, growth can compound, with corresponding benefits for earnings and dividends in the future.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Porvair has delivered 8.3% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Porvair? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Porvair is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Porvair is halfway there. There's a lot to like about Porvair, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Wondering what the future holds for Porvair? See what the two analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
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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