It looks like InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC) is about to go ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. This means that investors who purchase InterDigital's shares on or after the 11th of October will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 26th of October.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.35 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.40 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, InterDigital has a trailing yield of approximately 3.0% on its current stock price of $47.37. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. That's why it's good to see InterDigital paying out a modest 49% of its earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. It paid out more than half (56%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range 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?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. With that in mind, we're discomforted by InterDigital's 20% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, InterDigital has increased its dividend at approximately 13% a year on average.
Should investors buy InterDigital for the upcoming dividend? Its earnings per share have been declining meaningfully, although it is paying out less than half its income and more than half its cash flow as dividends. Neither payout ratio appears an immediate concern, but we're concerned about the earnings. In summary, it's hard to get excited about InterDigital from a dividend perspective.
So if you want to do more digging on InterDigital, you'll find it worthwhile knowing the risks that this stock faces. To help with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign for InterDigital that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.
Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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