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What To Know Before Buying Fauquier Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:FBSS) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Is Fauquier Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:FBSS) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Unfortunately, it's common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.

A 2.3% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Fauquier Bankshares has some staying power. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Fauquier Bankshares for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NasdaqCM:FBSS Historical Dividend Yield, August 20th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 30% of Fauquier Bankshares's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Fauquier Bankshares's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Fauquier Bankshares has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. This company's dividend has not fluctuated wildly, but its dividend per share payments have still decreased substantially over this time, which is not ideal. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.80 in 2009, compared to US$0.48 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 5.0% a year during that period.

We struggle to make a case for buying Fauquier Bankshares for its dividend, given that payments have shrunk over the past ten years.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Earnings have grown at around 6.7% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that Fauquier Bankshares has a low and conservative payout ratio. It hasn't demonstrated a strong ability to grow earnings per share, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. Fauquier Bankshares has a credible record on several fronts, but falls slightly short of our standards for a dividend stock.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Fauquier Bankshares stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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.