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Here's What We Like About Methode Electronics, Inc. (NYSE:MEI)'s Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Methode Electronics, Inc. (NYSE:MEI) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You can purchase shares before the 10th of October in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 25th of October.

Methode Electronics's next dividend payment will be US$0.1 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.4 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Methode Electronics has a trailing yield of 1.4% on the current stock price of $32.23. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

View our latest analysis for Methode Electronics

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. Methode Electronics paid out just 17% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Fortunately, it paid out only 29% of its free cash flow in the past year.

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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NYSE:MEI Historical Dividend Yield, October 5th 2019

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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That explains why we're not overly excited about Methode Electronics's flat earnings over the past five years. Better than seeing them fall off a cliff, for sure, but the best dividend stocks grow their earnings meaningfully over the long run. Recent earnings growth has been limited. 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.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, ten years ago, Methode Electronics has lifted its dividend by approximately 4.6% a year on average.

Final Takeaway

Has Methode Electronics 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. Generally we like to see both low payout ratios and strong earnings per share growth, but Methode Electronics is halfway there. Methode Electronics looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Methode Electronics? See what the three analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.