Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Summit Hotel Properties, Inc. (NYSE:INN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 15th of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of August.
Summit Hotel Properties's next dividend payment will be US$0.18 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.72 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Summit Hotel Properties has a trailing yield of 6.3% on the current share price of $11.44. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Summit Hotel Properties paid out more than half (59%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. That said, REITs are often required by law to distribute all of their earnings, and it's not unusual to see a REIT with a payout ratio around 100%. We wouldn't read too much into this. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Over the past year it paid out 111% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is uncomfortably high. We're curious about why the company paid out more cash than it generated last year, since this can be one of the early signs that a dividend may be unsustainable.
While Summit Hotel Properties's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were this to happen repeatedly, this would be a risk to Summit Hotel Properties's ability to maintain its dividend.
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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. For this reason, we're glad to see Summit Hotel Properties's earnings per share have risen 15% per annum over the last five years. Earnings have been growing at a decent rate, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 8 years, Summit Hotel Properties has increased its dividend at approximately 6.1% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Summit Hotel Properties? Earnings per share growth is a positive, and the company's payout ratio looks normal. However, we note Summit Hotel Properties paid out a much higher percentage of its free cash flow, which makes us uncomfortable. In summary, it's hard to get excited about Summit Hotel Properties from a dividend perspective.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Summit Hotel Properties? 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.