Air Partner plc (LON:AIR) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. You can purchase shares before the 15th of October in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 20th of November.
Air Partner's next dividend payment will be UK£0.008 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed UK£0.016 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Air Partner has a trailing yield of approximately 2.5% on its current stock price of £0.648. 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 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. Air Partner has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 11% of its income after tax. 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 5.6% 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?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. This is why it's a relief to see Air Partner earnings per share are up 4.8% per annum over the last five years. Growth has been anaemic. Yet with more than 75% of its earnings being kept in the business, there is ample room to reinvest in growth or lift the payout ratio - either of which could increase the dividend.
We'd also point out that Air Partner issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. It's hard to grow dividends per share when a company keeps creating new shares.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Air Partner's dividend payments per share have declined at 13% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. It's unusual to see earnings per share increasing at the same time as dividends per share have been in decline. We'd hope it's because the company is reinvesting heavily in its business, but it could also suggest business is lumpy.
Should investors buy Air Partner for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Air Partner is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Air Partner is halfway there. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Air Partner is facing. For example, we've found 6 warning signs for Air Partner (1 can't be ignored!) that deserve your attention before investing in the shares.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting 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.
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