Readers hoping to buy Italtile Limited (JSE:ITE) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. You will need to purchase shares before the 3rd of March to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 8th of March.
Italtile's next dividend payment will be R0.31 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed R0.56 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Italtile stock has a trailing yield of around 3.5% on the current share price of ZAR16.16. 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 investigate whether Italtile can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately Italtile's payout ratio is modest, at just 41% of profit. 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 distributed 32% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
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?
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 decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. This is why it's a relief to see Italtile earnings per share are up 5.9% 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.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Italtile has delivered 18% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
Should investors buy Italtile for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Italtile is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. 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 Italtile is halfway there. Italtile looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
So while Italtile looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example, we've found 1 warning sign for Italtile that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.
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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