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Do These 3 Checks Before Buying Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) For Its Upcoming Dividend

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Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) 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. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Sirius XM Holdings' shares on or after the 5th of August, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of August.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.015 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.059 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Sirius XM Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 0.9% on the current share price of $6.47. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Sirius XM Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether Sirius XM Holdings can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for Sirius XM Holdings

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. Last year Sirius XM Holdings paid out 97% of its profits as dividends to shareholders, suggesting the dividend is not well covered by earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 15% of its cash flow last year.

It's good to see that while Sirius XM Holdings's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if this were to happen repeatedly, we'd be concerned about whether the dividend is sustainable in a downturn.

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?

Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see Sirius XM Holdings's earnings per share have dropped 9.1% a year over the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last five years, Sirius XM Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 7.9% a year on average. The only way to pay higher dividends when earnings are shrinking is either to pay out a larger percentage of profits, spend cash from the balance sheet, or borrow the money. Sirius XM Holdings is already paying out 97% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.

To Sum It Up

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Sirius XM Holdings? It's never great to see earnings per share declining, especially when a company is paying out 97% of its profit as dividends, which we feel is uncomfortably high. However, the cash payout ratio was much lower - good news from a dividend perspective - which makes us wonder why there is such a mis-match between income and cashflow. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

With that in mind though, if the poor dividend characteristics of Sirius XM Holdings don't faze you, it's worth being mindful of the risks involved with this business. For example, Sirius XM Holdings has 5 warning signs (and 2 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.

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.

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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.