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Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS) will pay a dividend of US$0.14 on the 18th of July. The dividend yield will be 5.2% based on this payment which is still above the industry average.
Steelcase Is Paying Out More Than It Is Earning
If the payments aren't sustainable, a high yield for a few years won't matter that much. Before this announcement, Steelcase was paying out 1,692% of what it was earning, and not generating any free cash flows either. This high of a dividend payment could start to put pressure on the balance sheet in the future.
Earnings per share is forecast to rise exponentially over the next year. If recent patterns in the dividend continues, we would start to get a bit worried, with the payout ratio possibly reaching 112%.
The company's dividend history has been marked by instability, with at least 1 cut in the last 10 years. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from US$0.24 to US$0.58. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 9.2% per annum over that time. It's good to see the dividend growing at a decent rate, but the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Steelcase might have put its house in order since then, but we remain cautious.
Dividend Growth Potential Is Shaky
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share is growing. Over the past five years, it looks as though Steelcase's EPS has declined at around 49% a year. Dividend payments are likely to come under some pressure unless EPS can pull out of the nosedive it is in. Over the next year, however, earnings are actually predicted to rise, but we would still be cautious until a track record of earnings growth can be built.
Steelcase's Dividend Doesn't Look Great
Overall, while some might be pleased that the dividend wasn't cut, we think this may help Steelcase make more consistent payments in the future. The company's earnings aren't high enough to be making such big distributions, and it isn't backed up by strong growth or consistency either. The dividend doesn't inspire confidence that it will provide solid income in the future.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. For example, we've identified 3 warning signs for Steelcase (2 are significant!) that you should be aware of before investing. Is Steelcase not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top dividend stocks.
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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.