Income Investors Should Know That XP Power Limited (LON:XPP) Goes Ex-Dividend Soon

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it’s exciting to see XP Power Limited (LON:XPP) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 12th of December in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of January.

XP Power’s next dividend payment will be UK£0.20 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of UK£0.85 per share. Calculating the last year’s worth of payments shows that XP Power has a trailing yield of 2.9% on the current share price of £29. 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! That’s why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for XP Power

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. XP Power paid out more than half (64%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. The company paid out 93% of its free cash flow over the last year, which we think is outside the ideal range for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings – expenses don’t pay themselves – so it’s not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.

While XP Power’s dividends were covered by the company’s reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it’s not great to see that the company didn’t generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were XP Power to repeatedly pay dividends that aren’t well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

Click here to see the company’s payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

LSE:XPP Historical Dividend Yield, December 8th 2019
LSE:XPP Historical Dividend Yield, December 8th 2019

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. With that in mind, we’re encouraged by the steady growth at XP Power, with earnings per share up 7.1% on average over the last five years. Earnings have been growing at a steady rate, but we’re concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company’s cash flow over the past year.

The main way most investors will assess a company’s dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, ten years ago, XP Power has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average. It’s encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid XP Power? XP Power is paying out a reasonable percentage of its income and an uncomfortably high 93% of its cash flow as dividends. At least earnings per share have been growing steadily. Bottom line: XP Power has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Wondering what the future holds for XP Power? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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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