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Is It Smart To Buy Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULH) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

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Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULH) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four 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. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Universal Logistics Holdings' shares before the 4th of March to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 4th of April.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.10 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.42 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Universal Logistics Holdings has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current share price of $19.46. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Universal Logistics Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether Universal Logistics Holdings can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

View our latest analysis for Universal Logistics Holdings

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. Universal Logistics Holdings has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 15% of its income after tax.

Click here to see how much of its profit Universal Logistics Holdings paid out over the last 12 months.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's encouraging to see Universal Logistics Holdings has grown its earnings rapidly, up 26% a year for the past five years. Universal Logistics Holdings looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Universal Logistics Holdings's dividend payments per share have declined at 8.3% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. Universal Logistics Holdings is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.

To Sum It Up

Is Universal Logistics Holdings an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Typically, companies that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings are keeping the profits for reinvestment in the business. This is one of the most attractive investment combinations under this analysis, as it can create substantial value for investors over the long run. We think this is a pretty attractive combination, and would be interested in investigating Universal Logistics Holdings more closely.

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 3 warning signs for Universal Logistics Holdings (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.