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Read This Before Considering Grainger plc (LON:GRI) For Its Upcoming UK£0.033 Dividend

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Readers hoping to buy Grainger plc (LON:GRI) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Meaning, you will need to purchase Grainger's shares before the 30th of December to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 14th of February.

The company's upcoming dividend is UK£0.033 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of UK£0.051 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Grainger has a trailing yield of 1.7% on the current share price of £3.106. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether Grainger has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

View our latest analysis for Grainger

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. Grainger paid out a comfortable 32% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Grainger generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Luckily it paid out just 25% of its free cash flow last year.

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?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's not ideal to see Grainger's earnings per share have been shrinking at 3.8% a year over the previous five years.

Grainger also issued more than 5% of its market cap in new stock during the past year, which we feel is likely to hurt its dividend prospects in the long run. It's hard to grow dividends per share when a company keeps creating new shares.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, Grainger has increased its dividend at approximately 15% a year on average.

To Sum It Up

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Grainger? Grainger has comfortably low cash and profit payout ratios, which may mean the dividend is sustainable even in the face of a sharp decline in earnings per share. Still, we consider declining earnings to be a warning sign. 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.

So while Grainger looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Be aware that Grainger is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those can't be ignored...

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.