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Is It Smart To Buy Rollins, Inc. (NYSE:ROL) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Rollins, Inc. (NYSE:ROL) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 8th of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of September.

Rollins's upcoming dividend is US$0.10 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.51 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Rollins stock has a trailing yield of around 1.6% on the current share price of $33.01. 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! So we need to investigate whether Rollins can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

See our latest analysis for Rollins

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Rollins paid out more than half (57%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. It distributed 49% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

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.

NYSE:ROL Historical Dividend Yield, August 3rd 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. For this reason, we're glad to see Rollins's earnings per share have risen 13% per annum over the last five years. Rollins is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. Given the quick rate of earnings per share growth and current level of payout, there may be a chance of further dividend increases in the future.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 10 years, Rollins has lifted its dividend by approximately 21% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Rollins for the upcoming dividend? Rollins's growing earnings per share and conservative payout ratios make for a decent combination. We also like that it paid out a lower percentage of its cash flow. Rollins looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

Wondering what the future holds for Rollins? See what the four analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.