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Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ:WEN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible 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. Accordingly, Wendy's investors that purchase the stock on or after the 30th of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.12 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.48 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Wendy's has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current stock price of $21.9. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
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. Fortunately Wendy's's payout ratio is modest, at just 45% of profit. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Wendy's generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 29% of its free cash flow in the past year.
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?
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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. For this reason, we're glad to see Wendy's's earnings per share have risen 14% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Wendy's has increased its dividend at approximately 20% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy Wendy's for the upcoming dividend? Wendy's has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past 10 years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Wendy's (1 is a bit unpleasant) 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. 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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