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Ashtead Group (LON:AHT) Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in three days. Investors can purchase shares before the 13th of August in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 11th of September.

Ashtead Group's next dividend payment will be UK£0.34 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of UK£0.41 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Ashtead Group stock has a trailing yield of around 1.6% on the current share price of £26.14494. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Ashtead Group's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Ashtead Group

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. That's why it's good to see Ashtead Group paying out a modest 25% of its earnings. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. The good news is it paid out just 24% of its free cash flow in the last year.

It's positive to see that Ashtead Group'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.

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?

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. That's why it's comforting to see Ashtead Group's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 22% per annum for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very quickly, and the company is paying out a relatively low percentage of its profit and cash flow. This is a very favourable combination that can often lead to the dividend multiplying over the long term, if earnings grow and the company pays out a higher percentage of its earnings.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Ashtead Group has delivered an average of 30% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

To Sum It Up

Is Ashtead Group worth buying for its dividend? Ashtead Group 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. There's a lot to like about Ashtead Group, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Ashtead Group you should be aware of.

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@simplywallst.com.