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Hawkins, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWKN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. Investors can purchase shares before the 13th of August in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of August.
Hawkins's next dividend payment will be US$0.23 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.93 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Hawkins has a trailing yield of approximately 1.7% on its current stock price of $53.22. 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 investigate whether Hawkins can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Fortunately Hawkins's payout ratio is modest, at just 32% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 33% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that Hawkins'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 strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. This is why it's a relief to see Hawkins earnings per share are up 9.6% per annum over the last five years. The company is retaining more than half of its earnings within the business, and it has been growing earnings at a decent rate. We think this is generally an attractive combination, as dividends can grow through a combination of earnings growth and or a higher payout ratio over time.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Hawkins has delivered 5.2% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Hawkins? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and Hawkins is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. It might be nice to see earnings growing faster, but Hawkins is being conservative with its dividend payouts and could still perform reasonably over the long run. 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. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Hawkins you should know about.
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.
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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