Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Dover Corporation (NYSE:DOV) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 27th of February in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of March.
Dover's next dividend payment will be US$0.49 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.96 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that Dover has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $119.44. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Dover's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether Dover can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
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. Fortunately Dover's payout ratio is modest, at just 42% of profit. 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 37% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
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.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies that aren't growing their earnings can still be valuable, but it is even more important to assess the sustainability of the dividend if it looks like the company will struggle to grow. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's not encouraging to see that Dover's earnings are effectively flat over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share. Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Dover has delivered an average of 7.0% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past ten years of dividend payments.
To Sum It Up
Has Dover got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? The company has barely grown earnings per share over this time, but at least it's paying out a decently low percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. This could suggest management is reinvesting in future growth opportunities. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine strong earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Dover is halfway there. Dover looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Wondering what the future holds for Dover? See what the 12 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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