FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLIR) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 25th of November in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 6th of December.
FLIR Systems's next dividend payment will be US$0.17 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.68 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, FLIR Systems has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of $53.5. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are 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. That's why it's good to see FLIR Systems paying out a modest 34% of its earnings. 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 27% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that FLIR Systems'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. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. This is why it's a relief to see FLIR Systems earnings per share are up 9.8% per annum over the last five years. Management have been reinvested more than half of the company's earnings within the business, and the company has been able to grow earnings with this retained capital. We think this is generally an attractive combination, as dividends can grow through a combination of earnings growth and or a higher payout ratio over time.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. FLIR Systems has delivered an average of 12% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past nine years of dividend payments. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
The Bottom Line
Has FLIR Systems got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and FLIR Systems is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and FLIR Systems is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
Curious what other investors think of FLIR Systems? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow.
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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