It looks like Richardson Electronics, Ltd. (NASDAQ:RELL) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Richardson Electronics' shares on or after the 5th of August, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 25th of August.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.06 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.24 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Richardson Electronics has a trailing yield of 3.1% on the current share price of $7.76. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to investigate whether Richardson Electronics can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
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. Richardson Electronics distributed an unsustainably high 191% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without extenuating circumstances, we'd consider the dividend at risk of a cut. 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.
It's disappointing to see that the dividend was not covered by profits, but cash is more important from a dividend sustainability perspective, and Richardson Electronics fortunately did generate enough cash to fund its dividend. If executives were to continue paying more in dividends than the company reported in profits, we'd view this as a warning sign. Extraordinarily few companies are capable of persistently paying a dividend that is greater than their profits.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. It's encouraging to see Richardson Electronics has grown its earnings rapidly, up 21% a year for the past five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Richardson Electronics has delivered 12% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
The Bottom Line
Is Richardson Electronics worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing, despite the company paying out a concerningly high percentage of its earnings and cashflow. We struggle to see how a company paying out so much of its earnings and cash flow will be able to sustain its dividend in a downturn, or reinvest enough into its business to continue growing earnings without borrowing heavily. 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 Richardson Electronics 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 Richardson Electronics 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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