It looks like Allegion plc (NYSE:ALLE) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 15th of September in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of September.
Allegion's next dividend payment will be US$0.32 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.28 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Allegion has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of $98.69. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately Allegion's payout ratio is modest, at just 38% of profit. 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. The good news is it paid out just 24% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's positive to see that Allegion'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?
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. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Allegion, with earnings per share up 9.7% on average over the last five years. The company is retaining more than half of its earnings within the business, and it has been growing earnings at a decent rate. We think this is generally an attractive combination, as dividends can grow through a combination of earnings growth and or a higher payout ratio over time.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past seven years, Allegion has increased its dividend at approximately 22% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Allegion? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Allegion 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 Allegion is halfway there. Allegion looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
So while Allegion looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Allegion 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.
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