Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see ACCO Brands Corporation (NYSE:ACCO) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 22nd of August in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 18th of September.
ACCO Brands's upcoming dividend is US$0.06 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.24 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, ACCO Brands has a trailing yield of approximately 2.5% on its current stock price of $9.55. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. ACCO Brands has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 23% of its income after tax. 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. It distributed 46% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
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?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at ACCO Brands, with earnings per share up 8.7% on average over the last five years. Management have been reinvested more than half of the company's earnings within the business, and the company has been able to grow earnings with this retained capital. Organisations that reinvest heavily in themselves typically get stronger over time, which can bring attractive benefits such as stronger earnings and dividends.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. It looks like the ACCO Brands dividends are largely the same as they were two years ago.
To Sum It Up
Has ACCO Brands got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and ACCO Brands 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 ACCO Brands is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
Curious what other investors think of ACCO Brands? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .
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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.