Healthcare Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCSG) has announced that it will be increasing its dividend on the 24th of September to US$0.21. This will take the dividend yield to an attractive 3.1%, providing a nice boost to shareholder returns.
Healthcare Services Group's Payment Has Solid Earnings Coverage
If the payments aren't sustainable, a high yield for a few years won't matter that much. Prior to this announcement, Healthcare Services Group's dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. This means that a large portion of its earnings are being retained to grow the business.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to fall by 2.9% over the next year. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we believe the payout ratio could be 73%, which we are pretty comfortable with and we think is feasible on an earnings basis.
Healthcare Services Group Has A Solid Track Record
The company has been paying a dividend for a long time, and it has been quite stable which gives us confidence in the future dividend potential. The dividend has gone from US$0.62 in 2011 to the most recent annual payment of US$0.83. This implies that the company grew its distributions at a yearly rate of about 3.0% over that duration. Slow and steady dividend growth might not sound that exciting, but dividends have been stable for ten years, which we think makes this a fairly attractive offer.
The Dividend Has Growth Potential
Investors could be attracted to the stock based on the quality of its payment history. It's encouraging to see Healthcare Services Group has been growing its earnings per share at 6.3% a year over the past five years. Since earnings per share is growing at an acceptable rate, and the payout policy is balanced, we think the company is positioning itself well to grow earnings and dividends in the future.
Healthcare Services Group Looks Like A Great Dividend Stock
In summary, it is always positive to see the dividend being increased, and we are particularly pleased with its overall sustainability. The company is generating plenty of cash, and the earnings also quite easily cover the distributions. We should point out that the earnings are expected to fall over the next 12 months, which won't be a problem if this doesn't become a trend, but could cause some turbulence in the next year. All of these factors considered, we think this has solid potential as a dividend stock.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 9 analysts we track are forecasting for Healthcare Services Group for free with public analyst estimates for the company. We have also put together a list of global stocks with a solid dividend.
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