Custodian REIT Plc (LON:CREI) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 2 days time. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 25th of July will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of August.
Custodian REIT's upcoming dividend is UK£0.017 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of UK£0.066 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Custodian REIT has a trailing yield of 5.5% on the current share price of £1.19. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Custodian REIT's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Its dividend payout ratio is 80% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth We'd be concerned if earnings began to decline. While Custodian REIT 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. 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 80% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company's ability to lift the dividend if there's no growth.
It's positive to see that Custodian REIT'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?
Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. 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 Custodian REIT's flat earnings over the past five years. It's better than seeing them drop, certainly, but over the long term, all of the best dividend stocks are able to meaningfully grow their earnings per share. A high payout ratio of 80% generally happens when a company can't find better uses for the cash. Combined with slim earnings growth in the past few years, Custodian REIT could be signalling that its future growth prospects are thin.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Custodian REIT has delivered an average of 5.5% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 5 years of dividend payments.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Custodian REIT? Earnings per share have barely grown, and although Custodian REIT paid out over half its earnings and free cash flow last year, the payout ratios are within a normal range for most companies. It might be worth researching if the company is reinvesting in growth projects that could grow earnings and dividends in the future, but for now we're not all that optimistic on its dividend prospects.
Want to learn more about Custodian REIT? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
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.
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