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It looks like Frontline Ltd. (NYSE:FRO) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 10th of December will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 20th of December.
Frontline's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.40 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Frontline stock has a trailing yield of around 3.7% on the current share price of $10.89. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Frontline's dividend is reliable and sustainable. As a result, readers should always check whether Frontline has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
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. Fortunately Frontline's payout ratio is modest, at just 30% of profit.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Frontline's 11% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Frontline has seen its dividend decline 20% per annum on average over the past four years, which is not great to see. While it's not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we're encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Frontline? Earnings per share have shrunk noticeably in recent years, although we like that the company has a low payout ratio. This could suggest a cut to the dividend may not be a major risk in the near future. We think this is a pretty attractive combination, and would be interested in investigating Frontline more closely.
Curious what other investors think of Frontline? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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