Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ:PINC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next two days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Thus, you can purchase Premier's shares before the 28th of February in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 15th of March.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.20 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.80 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Premier has a trailing yield of 2.3% on the current stock price of $35.44. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. That's why it's good to see Premier paying out a modest 32% 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. It paid out 24% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It's positive to see that Premier'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 shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Premier's earnings have collapsed faster than Wile E Coyote's schemes to trap the Road Runner; down a tremendous 34% a year over the past five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Premier has delivered an average of 2.6% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past two years of dividend payments.
To Sum It Up
Is Premier worth buying for its dividend? Premier has comfortably low cash and profit payout ratios, which may mean the dividend is sustainable even in the face of a sharp decline in earnings per share. Still, we consider declining earnings to be a warning sign. While it does have some good things going for it, we're a bit ambivalent and it would take more to convince us of Premier's dividend merits.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. To help with this, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Premier (1 is significant!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the shares.
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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.