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Dividend Investors: Don't Be Too Quick To Buy Ardagh Group S.A. (NYSE:ARD) For Its Upcoming Dividend

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·3 min read
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Ardagh Group S.A. (NYSE:ARD) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 16th of September in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 1st of October.

Ardagh Group's next dividend payment will be US$0.15 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.60 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Ardagh Group has a trailing yield of 4.0% on the current stock price of $14.93. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for Ardagh Group

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. Ardagh Group reported a loss after tax last year, which means it's paying a dividend despite being unprofitable. While this might be a one-off event, this is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. Given that the company reported a loss last year, we now need to see if it generated enough free cash flow to fund the dividend. If cash earnings don't cover the dividend, the company would have to pay dividends out of cash in the bank, or by borrowing money, neither of which is long-term sustainable. Dividends consumed 70% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

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

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Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Ardagh Group was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last five years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Ardagh Group has delivered 2.3% dividend growth per year on average over the past three years.

We update our analysis on Ardagh Group every 24 hours, so you can always get the latest insights on its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Ardagh Group for the upcoming dividend? We're a bit uncomfortable with it paying a dividend while being loss-making. However, we note that the dividend was covered by cash flow. Bottom line: Ardagh Group has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Ardagh Group. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Ardagh Group and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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@simplywallst.com.