Readers hoping to buy CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 14th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 31st of August.
CF Industries Holdings's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.20 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, CF Industries Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 3.6% on the current share price of $33.13. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. 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. CF Industries Holdings paid out 69% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. 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. Luckily it paid out just 22% of its free cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that CF Industries Holdings's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we're discomforted by CF Industries Holdings's 20% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, CF Industries Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 31% a year on average. That's interesting, but the combination of a growing dividend despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out more of the company's profits. This can be valuable for shareholders, but it can't go on forever.
Has CF Industries Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We're not enthused by the declining earnings per share, although at least the company's payout ratio is within a reasonable range, meaning it may not be at imminent risk of a dividend cut. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.
If you're not too concerned about CF Industries Holdings's ability to pay dividends, you should still be mindful of some of the other risks that this business faces. Our analysis shows 3 warning signs for CF Industries Holdings that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
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.
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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