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Why It Might Not Make Sense To Buy Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE:GHL) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE:GHL) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four 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 important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Accordingly, Greenhill investors that purchase the stock on or after the 6th of December will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 21st of December.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.40 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Greenhill stock has a trailing yield of around 4.3% on the current share price of $9.36. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Greenhill's dividend is reliable and sustainable. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for Greenhill

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. Greenhill is paying out an acceptable 52% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies.

Generally speaking, the lower a company's payout ratios, the more resilient its dividend usually is.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Greenhill's 19% 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. Greenhill has seen its dividend decline 14% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. While it's not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we're encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.

The Bottom Line

Is Greenhill worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been declining and the company is paying out more than half its profits to shareholders; not an enticing combination. All things considered, we're not optimistic about its dividend prospects, and would be inclined to leave it on the shelf for now.

With that being said, if you're still considering Greenhill as an investment, you'll find it beneficial to know what risks this stock is facing. For example, we've found 4 warning signs for Greenhill (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that deserve your attention before investing in the shares.

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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