Readers hoping to buy PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Investors can purchase shares before the 10th of February in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 3rd of March.
PACCAR's upcoming dividend is US$0.32 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$3.58 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, PACCAR has a trailing yield of 4.7% on the current stock price of $76.18. 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! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. PACCAR is paying out just 19% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether PACCAR generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. PACCAR paid out more free cash flow than it generated - 128%, to be precise - last year, which we think is concerningly high. It's hard to consistently pay out more cash than you generate without either borrowing or using company cash, so we'd wonder how the company justifies this payout level.
While PACCAR'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. Cash is king, as they say, and were PACCAR to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.
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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, PACCAR's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past 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 ten years, PACCAR has increased its dividend at approximately 16% 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.
The Bottom Line
Has PACCAR got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We're glad to see the company has been improving its earnings per share while also paying out a low percentage of income. However, it's not great to see it paying out what we see as an uncomfortably high percentage of its cash flow. 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.
Wondering what the future holds for PACCAR? See what the 16 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.
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