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Should You Buy Headlam Group plc (LON:HEAD) For Its Upcoming Dividend In 3 Days?

Simply Wall St

It looks like Headlam Group plc (LON:HEAD) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 3 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 28th of November, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 2nd of January.

Headlam Group's next dividend payment will be UK£0.075 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed UK£0.25 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Headlam Group has a trailing yield of 5.6% on the current share price of £4.45. 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 Headlam Group can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

View our latest analysis for Headlam Group

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Headlam Group paid out more than half (63%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 42% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

It's positive to see that Headlam 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.

LSE:HEAD Historical Dividend Yield, November 24th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, Headlam Group's earnings per share have been growing at 17% a year for the past five years. Headlam Group has an average payout ratio which suggests a balance between growing earnings and rewarding shareholders. Given the quick rate of earnings per share growth and current level of payout, there may be a chance of further dividend increases in the future.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past ten years, Headlam Group has increased its dividend at approximately 2.4% 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.

The Bottom Line

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Headlam Group? Headlam Group's growing earnings per share and conservative payout ratios make for a decent combination. We also like that it paid out a lower percentage of its cash flow. There's a lot to like about Headlam Group, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

Wondering what the future holds for Headlam Group? See what the four analysts we track 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.