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Read This Before Considering Hays plc (LON:HAS) For Its Upcoming UK£0.077 Dividend

Shares of Hays plc (LON:HAS) will begin trading ex-dividend in 4 days. To qualify for the dividend check of UK£0.077 per share, investors must have owned the shares prior to 04 October 2018, which is the last day the company’s management will finalize their list of shareholders to which they will send dividend payments. Is this future income a persuasive enough catalyst for investors to think about Hays as an investment today? Below, I’m going to look at the latest data and analyze the stock and its dividend property in further detail.

See our latest analysis for Hays

How I analyze a dividend stock

When researching a dividend stock, I always follow the following screening criteria:

  • Does it pay an annual yield higher than 75% of dividend payers?
  • Has its dividend been stable over the past (i.e. no missed payments or significant payout cuts)?
  • Has the amount of dividend per share grown over the past?
  • Is its earnings sufficient to payout dividend at the current rate?
  • Will it be able to continue to payout at the current rate in the future?
LSE:HAS Historical Dividend Yield September 29th 18

Does Hays pass our checks?

Hays has a trailing twelve-month payout ratio of 33.3%, meaning the dividend is sufficiently covered by earnings. Going forward, analysts expect HAS’s payout to increase to 81.7% of its earnings, which leads to a dividend yield of around 5.1%. Furthermore, EPS should increase to £0.13. The higher payout forecasted, along with higher earnings, should lead to greater dividend income for investors moving forward.

When assessing the forecast sustainability of a dividend it is also worth considering the cash flow of the business. A company with strong cash flow, relative to earnings, can sometimes sustain a high pay out ratio.

If dividend is a key criteria in your investment consideration, then you need to make sure the dividend stock you’re eyeing out is reliable in its payments. Although HAS’s per share payments have increased in the past 10 years, it has not been a completely smooth ride. Investors have seen reductions in the dividend per share in the past, although, it has picked up again.

Relative to peers, Hays produces a yield of 4.3%, which is high for Professional Services stocks but still below the market’s top dividend payers.

Next Steps:

Taking into account the dividend metrics, Hays ticks most of the boxes as a strong dividend investment, putting it in my list of top dividend payers. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, you should always research extensively before deciding whether or not a stock is an appropriate investment for you. I always recommend analysing the company’s fundamentals and underlying business before making an investment decision. Below, I’ve compiled three pertinent aspects you should further research:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for HAS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HAS’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is HAS worth today? Even if the stock is a cash cow, it’s not worth an infinite price. The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether HAS is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.