It looks like Aperam S.A. (AMS:APAM) is about to go ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. In other words, investors can purchase Aperam's shares before the 14th of November in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 9th of December.
The company's upcoming dividend is €0.42 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of €2.00 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Aperam stock has a trailing yield of around 7.0% on the current share price of €28.39. 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! So we need to investigate whether Aperam can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
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. Aperam has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 14% of its income after tax. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 45% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that Aperam'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?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That's why it's comforting to see Aperam's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 42% per annum for the past five years. Aperam is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Aperam has delivered an average of 14% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
Is Aperam an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's great that Aperam is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Aperam is facing. Our analysis shows 3 warning signs for Aperam that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here