Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 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. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. This means that investors who purchase Celanese's shares on or after the 23rd of July will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 9th of August.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.68 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$2.72 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Celanese stock has a trailing yield of around 1.8% on the current share price of $152.35. 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 from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Celanese has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 14% of its income after tax. 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. Fortunately, it paid out only 34% of its free cash flow in the past year.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's comforting to see Celanese's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 55% per annum for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very quickly, and the company is paying out a relatively low percentage of its profit and cash flow. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Celanese has increased its dividend at approximately 30% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
To Sum It Up
Has Celanese got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Celanese 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. Celanese looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
So while Celanese looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Our analysis shows 4 warning signs for Celanese that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
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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