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Should Income Investors Look At BG Staffing, Inc. (NYSEMKT:BGSF) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

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 BG Staffing, Inc. (NYSEMKT:BGSF) is about to go ex-dividend in just 2 days. You can purchase shares before the 9th of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 19th of August.

BG Staffing's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.20 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, BG Staffing has a trailing yield of approximately 7.2% on its current stock price of $16.6. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for BG Staffing

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. BG Staffing paid out 68% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. 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. It paid out more than half (62%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

It's positive to see that BG Staffing'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.

AMEX:BGSF Historical Dividend Yield, August 6th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. 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 BG Staffing's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 100% per annum for the past five years. Management appears to be striking a nice balance between reinvesting for growth and paying dividends to shareholders. Earnings per share have been growing quickly and in combination with some reinvestment and a middling payout ratio, the stock may have decent dividend prospects going forwards.

BG Staffing also issued more than 5% of its market cap in new stock during the past year, which we feel is likely to hurt its dividend prospects in the long run. Trying to grow the dividend while issuing large amounts of new shares reminds us of the ancient Greek tale of Sisyphus - perpetually pushing a boulder uphill.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 5 years, BG Staffing has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% 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 BG Staffing? Higher earnings per share generally lead to higher dividends from dividend-paying stocks over the long run. That's why we're glad to see BG Staffing's earnings per share growing, although as we saw, the company is paying out more than half of its earnings and cashflow - 68% and 62% respectively. To summarise, BG Staffing looks okay on this analysis, although it doesn't appear a stand-out opportunity.

Ever wonder what the future holds for BG Staffing? See what the two 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.

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.