It looks like V.F. Corporation (NYSE:VFC) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. You can purchase shares before the 9th of March in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 22nd of March.
V.F's upcoming dividend is US$0.49 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.96 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, V.F has a trailing yield of 2.4% on the current stock price of $81.2. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. V.F 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. Considering the lack of profitability, we also need to check if the company generated enough cash flow to cover the dividend payment. If V.F 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. Over the last year, it paid out more than three-quarters (88%) of its free cash flow generated, which is fairly high and may be starting to limit reinvestment in the business.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. V.F was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last five years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, V.F has lifted its dividend by approximately 13% a year on average.
Should investors buy V.F for the upcoming dividend? It's hard to get used to V.F paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. At least the dividend was covered by free cash flow, however. It's not the most attractive proposition from a dividend perspective, and we'd probably give this one a miss for now.
Although, if you're still interested in V.F and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for V.F (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.
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.
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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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