Is It Worth Considering Axfood AB (publ) (STO:AXFO) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 21, 2022
OM:AXFO
Source: Shutterstock

It looks like Axfood AB (publ) (STO:AXFO) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 2 days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled 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. Thus, you can purchase Axfood's shares before the 24th of March in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 30th of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be kr4.00 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed kr7.75 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Axfood has a trailing yield of 2.9% on the current share price of SEK269.8. 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! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

View our latest analysis for Axfood

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Its dividend payout ratio is 75% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth. We'd be concerned if earnings began to decline. 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. Over the last year it paid out 57% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

It's positive to see that Axfood'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.

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

historic-dividend
OM:AXFO Historic Dividend March 21st 2022

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. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Axfood, with earnings per share up 7.9% on average over the last five years. Decent historical earnings per share growth suggests Axfood has been effectively growing value for shareholders. However, it's now paying out more than half its earnings as dividends. Therefore it's unlikely that the company will be able to reinvest heavily in its business, which could presage slower growth in the future.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, Axfood has increased its dividend at approximately 10.0% 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.

The Bottom Line

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Axfood? Earnings per share have been growing modestly and Axfood paid out a bit over half of its earnings and free cash flow last year. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about Axfood from a dividend perspective.

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

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

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