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Hill & Smith Holdings PLC (LON:HILS) Looks Like A Good Stock, And It's Going Ex-Dividend Soon

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Hill & Smith Holdings PLC (LON:HILS) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. You can purchase shares before the 28th of November in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 3rd of January.

Hill & Smith Holdings's next dividend payment will be UK£0.11 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed UK£0.32 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Hill & Smith Holdings has a trailing yield of 2.4% on the current stock price of £13.34. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Hill & Smith Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for Hill & Smith Holdings

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. That's why it's good to see Hill & Smith Holdings paying out a modest 49% of its earnings. 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. Dividends consumed 64% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

It's positive to see that Hill & Smith Holdings'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.

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

LSE:HILS Historical Dividend Yield, November 24th 2019

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 earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Fortunately for readers, Hill & Smith Holdings's earnings per share have been growing at 17% a year for the past five years. Hill & Smith Holdings has an average payout ratio which suggests a balance between growing earnings and rewarding shareholders. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.

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, Hill & Smith Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 12% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

To Sum It Up

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Hill & Smith Holdings? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. Hill & Smith Holdings looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

Wondering what the future holds for Hill & Smith Holdings? See what the six 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.