Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Newell Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:NWL) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 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 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 Newell Brands' shares before the 29th of November in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 15th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.23 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.92 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Newell Brands has a trailing yield of 4.0% on the current share price of $23.15. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Newell Brands paid out more than half (65%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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. Fortunately, it paid out only 48% of its free cash flow in the past year.
It's positive to see that Newell Brands'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?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. 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 Newell Brands, with earnings per share up 8.0% on average over the last five years. While earnings have been growing at a credible rate, the company is paying out a majority of its earnings to shareholders. 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, Newell Brands has increased its dividend at approximately 16% 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 Newell Brands an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? While earnings per share growth has been modest, Newell Brands's dividend payouts are around an average level; without a sharp change in earnings we feel that the dividend is likely somewhat sustainable. Pleasingly the company paid out a conservatively low percentage of its free cash flow. Overall we're not hugely bearish on the stock, but there are likely better dividend investments out there.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example - Newell Brands 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.
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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