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Four Days Left To Buy London Security plc (LON:LSC) Before The Ex-Dividend Date

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London Security plc (LON:LSC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Therefore, if you purchase London Security's shares on or after the 10th of June, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 9th of July.

The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.40 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of UK£0.60 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that London Security has a trailing yield of 3.3% on the current share price of £24. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for London Security

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. London Security paid out 55% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether London Security generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 35% of its free cash flow in the past year.

It's positive to see that London Security's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Click here to see how much of its profit London Security paid out over the last 12 months.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at London Security, with earnings per share up 7.8% on average over the last five years. While earnings have been growing at a credible rate, the company is paying out a majority of its earnings to shareholders. Therefore it's unlikely that the company will be able to reinvest heavily in its business, which could presage slower growth in the future.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. London Security has delivered 17% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. 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.

To Sum It Up

Is London Security worth buying for its dividend? While earnings per share growth has been modest, London Security's dividend payouts are around an average level; without a sharp change in earnings we feel that the dividend is likely somewhat sustainable. Pleasingly the company paid out a conservatively low percentage of its free cash flow. Overall, it's hard to get excited about London Security from a dividend perspective.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example, we've found 1 warning sign for London Security that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.

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 (at) simplywallst.com.