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Should Income Investors Look At Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE:BDN) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE:BDN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 2nd of October, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 17th of October.

Brandywine Realty Trust's upcoming dividend is US$0.2 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.8 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Brandywine Realty Trust has a trailing yield of 5.0% on the current share price of $15.18. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Brandywine Realty Trust has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for Brandywine Realty Trust

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. Brandywine Realty Trust paid out 53% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. While Brandywine Realty Trust seems to be paying out a very high percentage of its income, REITs have different dividend payment behaviour and so, while we don't think this is great, we also don't think it is unusual. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Brandywine Realty Trust generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Over the last year it paid out 61% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

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:BDN Historical Dividend Yield, September 28th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. For this reason, we're glad to see Brandywine Realty Trust's earnings per share have risen 20% per annum over the last five years. Brandywine Realty Trust is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Brandywine Realty Trust's dividend payments per share have declined at 4.5% per year on average over the past ten years, which is uninspiring. Brandywine Realty Trust is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Brandywine Realty Trust for the upcoming dividend? It's good to see earnings are growing, since all of the best dividend stocks grow their earnings meaningfully over the long run. However, we'd also note that Brandywine Realty Trust is paying out more than half of its earnings and cash flow as profits, which could limit the dividend growth if earnings growth slows. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about Brandywine Realty Trust from a dividend perspective.

Wondering what the future holds for Brandywine Realty Trust? See what the four 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.