It looks like Albany International Corp. (NYSE:AIN) is about to go ex-dividend in the next two days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. In other words, investors can purchase Albany International's shares before the 27th of December in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of January.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.21 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.80 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Albany International stock has a trailing yield of around 0.9% on the current share price of $88.53. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to investigate whether Albany International can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Albany International has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 22% of its income after tax. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Albany International generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 16% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
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?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Albany International's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Albany International has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.8% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
Is Albany International an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Albany International 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.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Albany International? See what the six analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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.