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 Mastek Limited (NSE:MASTEK) is about to go ex-dividend in just 2 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 24th of October to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of November.
Mastek's upcoming dividend is ₹3.0 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of ₹8.5 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Mastek has a trailing yield of 2.5% on the current stock price of ₹342.7. 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.
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. Mastek paid out just 19% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 22% of its cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that Mastek'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?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's encouraging to see Mastek has grown its earnings rapidly, up 28% a year for the past five years. Mastek looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Mastek has seen its dividend decline 1.6% per annum on average over the past ten years, which is not great to see.
The Bottom Line
Is Mastek an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Mastek has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past ten years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. There's a lot to like about Mastek, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Wondering what the future holds for Mastek? See what the three 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 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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.