Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) Looks Interesting, And It's About To Pay A Dividend

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 25, 2022
NasdaqGS:FWRD
Source: Shutterstock

Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) is about to trade 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 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. Accordingly, Forward Air investors that purchase the stock on or after the 2nd of March will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 18th of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.24 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.96 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Forward Air has a trailing yield of 0.9% on the current share price of $101.36. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

View our latest analysis for Forward Air

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. Forward Air has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 20% of its income after tax. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Forward Air generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 28% of its free cash flow in the past year.

It's positive to see that Forward Air'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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividend
NasdaqGS:FWRD Historic Dividend February 25th 2022

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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Forward Air has grown its earnings rapidly, up 37% a year 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.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Forward Air has delivered an average of 13% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

To Sum It Up

Is Forward Air worth buying for its dividend? We love that Forward Air is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Forward Air? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.

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