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Should You Buy Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE:AWI) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE:AWI) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 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. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Armstrong World Industries' shares on or after the 28th of February, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 14th of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.28 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.12 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Armstrong World Industries stock has a trailing yield of around 0.9% on the current share price of US$122.37. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Armstrong World Industries's dividend is reliable and sustainable. As a result, readers should always check whether Armstrong World Industries has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

See our latest analysis for Armstrong World Industries

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. Armstrong World Industries paid out just 21% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. It distributed 31% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

It's positive to see that Armstrong World Industries'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. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Armstrong World Industries, with earnings per share up 6.7% 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. Armstrong World Industries has delivered an average of 9.9% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past five years of dividend payments. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Is Armstrong World Industries an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and Armstrong World Industries is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. 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 Armstrong World Industries is halfway there. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

So while Armstrong World Industries looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example, we've found 1 warning sign for Armstrong World Industries that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

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.

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