It looks like Tennant Company (NYSE:TNC) is about to go 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 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase Tennant's shares before the 29th of November to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.00 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that Tennant has a trailing yield of 1.2% on the current share price of $84.34. 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.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Fortunately Tennant's payout ratio is modest, at just 29% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Luckily it paid out just 21% of its free cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that Tennant'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?
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. For this reason, we're glad to see Tennant's earnings per share have risen 13% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Tennant has lifted its dividend by approximately 3.9% a year on average. Earnings per share have been growing much quicker than dividends, potentially because Tennant is keeping back more of its profits to grow the business.
Should investors buy Tennant for the upcoming dividend? Tennant has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. There's a lot to like about Tennant, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Curious what other investors think of Tennant? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow.
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.
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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