Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Redde Northgate plc (LON:REDD) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. 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 important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Accordingly, Redde Northgate investors that purchase the stock on or after the 14th of December will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 12th of January.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.083 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of UK£0.24 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Redde Northgate has a trailing yield of 6.5% on the current share price of £3.715. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Redde Northgate has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
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. That's why it's good to see Redde Northgate paying out a modest 42% of its earnings. 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. Over the last year, it paid out more than three-quarters (77%) of its free cash flow generated, which is fairly high and may be starting to limit reinvestment in the business.
It's positive to see that Redde Northgate'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?
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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. For this reason, we're glad to see Redde Northgate's earnings per share have risen 12% per annum over the last five years. It paid out more than three-quarters of its earnings in the last year, even though earnings per share are growing rapidly. Higher earnings generally bode well for growing dividends, although with seemingly strong growth prospects we'd wonder why management are not reinvesting more in the business.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Redde Northgate has delivered an average of 13% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
The Bottom Line
Has Redde Northgate got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have grown at a nice rate in recent times and over the last year, Redde Northgate paid out less than half its earnings and a bit over half its free cash flow. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Our analysis shows 3 warning signs for Redde Northgate that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.
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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.