Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see nVent Electric plc (NYSE:NVT) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Thus, you can purchase nVent Electric's shares before the 22nd of July in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 6th of August.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.17 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.70 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, nVent Electric stock has a trailing yield of around 2.4% on the current share price of $29.61. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. 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. nVent Electric reported a loss after tax last year, which means it's paying a dividend despite being unprofitable. While this might be a one-off event, this is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. Given that the company reported a loss last year, we now need to see if it generated enough free cash flow to fund the dividend. If nVent Electric didn't generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 34% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. nVent Electric reported a loss last year, and the general trend suggests its earnings have also been declining in recent years, making us wonder if the dividend is at risk.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. It looks like the nVent Electric dividends are largely the same as they were three years ago. When earnings are declining yet the dividends are flat, typically the company is either paying out a higher portion of its earnings, or paying out of cash or debt on the balance sheet, neither of which is ideal.
To Sum It Up
Is nVent Electric worth buying for its dividend? It's hard to get used to nVent Electric paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. At least the dividend was covered by free cash flow, however. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of nVent Electric.
Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with nVent Electric. For example - nVent Electric has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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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