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NZME Limited (NZSE:NZM) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase NZME's shares before the 27th of June to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 12th of July.
The company's next dividend payment will be NZ$0.059 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of NZ$0.10 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, NZME stock has a trailing yield of around 8.5% on the current share price of NZ$1.18. 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! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. That's why it's good to see NZME paying out a modest 46% of its earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. It paid out 13% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It's positive to see that NZME'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.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by NZME's 9.5% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.
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, six years ago, NZME has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.1% a year on average.
Is NZME an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share are down meaningfully, although at least the company is paying out a low and conservative percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's definitely not great to see earnings falling, but at least there may be some buffer before the dividend needs to be cut. Overall, it's hard to get excited about NZME 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. To help with this, we've discovered 4 warning signs for NZME (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the shares.
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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.