Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Algoma Central Corporation (TSE:ALC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase Algoma Central's shares before the 17th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be CA$0.17 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed CA$0.68 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Algoma Central has a trailing yield of approximately 3.9% on its current stock price of CA$17.3. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Fortunately Algoma Central's payout ratio is modest, at just 26% 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 20% of its cash flow last year.
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?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's encouraging to see Algoma Central has grown its earnings rapidly, up 57% 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. In the last 10 years, Algoma Central has lifted its dividend by approximately 14% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
To Sum It Up
Is Algoma Central worth buying for its dividend? Algoma Central has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past 10 years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. There's a lot to like about Algoma Central, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
So while Algoma Central looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Algoma Central that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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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