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Should You Buy Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LW) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

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Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LW) is about to go ex-dividend in just three days. Investors can purchase shares before the 4th of February in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 5th of March.

Lamb Weston Holdings's next dividend payment will be US$0.23 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.94 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Lamb Weston Holdings has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of $74.7. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Lamb Weston Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for Lamb Weston Holdings

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. Lamb Weston Holdings paid out a comfortable 45% of its profit last year. 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 31% 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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.


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. This is why it's a relief to see Lamb Weston Holdings earnings per share are up 2.1% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, four years ago, Lamb Weston Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.8% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Lamb Weston Holdings for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and Lamb Weston Holdings 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 Lamb Weston Holdings is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

So while Lamb Weston Holdings 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 2 warning signs for Lamb Weston Holdings (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that deserve your attention before investing in the shares.

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting 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 (at) simplywallst.com.