Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE:MWA) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 9th of November in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 20th of November.
Mueller Water Products's next dividend payment will be US$0.055 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.21 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Mueller Water Products has a trailing yield of 2.0% on the current stock price of $11. 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 check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Mueller Water Products paid out a comfortable 39% 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 49% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Mueller Water Products, with earnings per share up 9.2% 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.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Mueller Water Products has delivered an average of 12% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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.
Is Mueller Water Products an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and Mueller Water Products 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 Mueller Water Products is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
In light of that, while Mueller Water Products has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. For example - Mueller Water Products has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising 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.
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