It looks like Enterprise Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBTC) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 7th of February in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 2nd of March.
Enterprise Bancorp's upcoming dividend is US$0.17 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.70 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Enterprise Bancorp has a trailing yield of 2.3% on the current share price of $31.02. 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! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Enterprise Bancorp is paying out just 22% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events.
When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.
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 decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Fortunately for readers, Enterprise Bancorp's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, ten years ago, Enterprise Bancorp has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.3% 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
Has Enterprise Bancorp got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Companies like Enterprise Bancorp that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings, are usually reinvesting heavily in their business. Perhaps even more importantly - this can sometimes signal management is focused on the long term future of the business. In summary, Enterprise Bancorp appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.
Keen to explore more data on Enterprise Bancorp's financial performance? Check out our visualisation of its historical revenue and earnings growth.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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