It looks like The Berkeley Group Holdings plc (LON:BKG) is about to go 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 an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. This means that investors who purchase Berkeley Group Holdings' shares on or after the 6th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 17th of September.
The upcoming dividend for Berkeley Group Holdings is UK£3.71 per share, increased from last year's total dividends per share of UK£1.16. 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! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. Berkeley Group Holdings paid out just 17% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 45% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that Berkeley Group Holdings'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 strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. This is why it's a relief to see Berkeley Group Holdings earnings per share are up 2.8% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last eight years, Berkeley Group Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 18% 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.
To Sum It Up
Is Berkeley Group Holdings worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Berkeley Group Holdings 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 Berkeley Group Holdings is halfway there. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
In light of that, while Berkeley Group Holdings has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Berkeley Group Holdings you should be aware of.
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.
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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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