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Pentair (NYSE:PNR) Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

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Pentair plc (NYSE:PNR) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 21st of January will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 5th of February.

Pentair's upcoming dividend is US$0.20 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.76 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Pentair has a trailing yield of 1.4% on the current share price of $57.59. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether Pentair has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

See our latest analysis for Pentair

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. Fortunately Pentair's payout ratio is modest, at just 35% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It paid out 24% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.

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.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Pentair, with earnings per share up 2.9% on average over the last five years. Recent growth has not been impressive. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 10 years, Pentair has lifted its dividend by approximately 0.5% a year on average.

To Sum It Up

Is Pentair an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Pentair is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Pentair is halfway there. There's a lot to like about Pentair, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Pentair you should be aware of.

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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