Loblaw Companies Limited (TSE:L) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in four days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase Loblaw Companies' shares before the 14th of December to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of December.
The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.41 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$1.62 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Loblaw Companies has a trailing yield of 1.3% on the current stock price of CA$124.8. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
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. Loblaw Companies paid out just 24% 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 16% of its cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that Loblaw Companies'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?
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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Loblaw Companies has grown its earnings rapidly, up 22% a year for the past five years. Loblaw Companies 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. Loblaw Companies has delivered an average of 6.8% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
To Sum It Up
Is Loblaw Companies worth buying for its dividend? Loblaw Companies has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
In light of that, while Loblaw Companies has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Loblaw Companies (including 1 which is a bit unpleasant).
If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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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