U.S. Markets closed

FMC Corporation's (NYSE:FMC) Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days time. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 30th of March will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of April.

FMC's next dividend payment will be US$0.44 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.76 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, FMC has a trailing yield of approximately 2.4% on its current stock price of $73.66. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether FMC's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

View our latest analysis for FMC

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. FMC paid out a comfortable 40% of its profit last year. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Over the last year it paid out 61% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range 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.

NYSE:FMC Historical Dividend Yield March 26th 2020

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, FMC's earnings per share have been growing at 13% a year for the past five years. FMC is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.

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, FMC has lifted its dividend by approximately 22% 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 FMC for the upcoming dividend? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. FMC looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

So while FMC looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. We've identified 3 warning signs with FMC (at least 1 which is a bit unpleasant), and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.