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Should You Buy Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ:IMKT.A) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

·3 min read

Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ:IMKT.A) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. This means that investors who purchase Ingles Markets' shares on or after the 6th of April will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 14th of April.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.17 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.66 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Ingles Markets has a trailing yield of 0.7% on the current share price of $89.05. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

View our latest analysis for Ingles Markets

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Ingles Markets is paying out just 4.9% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 5.8% of its cash flow last year.

It's positive to see that Ingles Markets'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 how much of its profit Ingles Markets paid out over the last 12 months.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's encouraging to see Ingles Markets has grown its earnings rapidly, up 39% a year for the past five years. Ingles Markets looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Ingles Markets's dividend payments are effectively flat on where they were 10 years ago.

To Sum It Up

Is Ingles Markets an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Ingles Markets 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. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

So while Ingles Markets looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Ingles Markets and you should be aware of these before buying any shares.

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.