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It looks like Brickworks Limited (ASX:BKW) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 12th of April in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of April.
Brickworks's next dividend payment will be AU$0.21 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed AU$0.60 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Brickworks has a trailing yield of 2.9% on the current share price of A$21.03. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to investigate whether Brickworks can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
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. Fortunately Brickworks's payout ratio is modest, at just 28% 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. Over the past year it paid out 141% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is uncomfortably 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 Brickworks'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 Brickworks's ability to maintain its dividend.
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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That's why it's comforting to see Brickworks's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 32% per annum for the past five years. Earnings have been growing quickly, 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. Brickworks has delivered 4.1% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
The Bottom Line
Is Brickworks an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We like that Brickworks has been successfully growing its earnings per share at a nice rate and reinvesting most of its profits in the business. However, we note the high cashflow payout ratio with some concern. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.
So while Brickworks looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Brickworks (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the shares.
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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