Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that FW Thorpe Plc (LON:TFW) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 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 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. Thus, you can purchase FW Thorpe's shares before the 28th of October in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 25th of November.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.065 per share, which looks like a nice increase on last year, when the company distributed a total of UK£0.058 to shareholders. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether FW Thorpe has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Fortunately FW Thorpe's payout ratio is modest, at just 43% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 39% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that FW Thorpe'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 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 FW Thorpe earnings per share are up 3.8% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. FW Thorpe has delivered an average of 13% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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.
To Sum It Up
Is FW Thorpe an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and FW Thorpe 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 FW Thorpe is halfway there. FW Thorpe looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Want to learn more about FW Thorpe? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
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.
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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