Readers hoping to buy Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 30th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of October.
Republic Services's next dividend payment will be US$0.4 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.6 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Republic Services has a trailing yield of 1.9% on the current stock price of $86.94. 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 check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Republic Services paid out a comfortable 46% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Republic Services generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 45% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
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.
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. Fortunately for readers, Republic Services's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past ten years, Republic Services has increased its dividend at approximately 7.9% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy Republic Services for the upcoming dividend? We love that Republic Services is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. Republic Services looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Republic Services? See what the 13 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.