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Be Sure To Check Out Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:WTS) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend

Simply Wall St

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:WTS) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 2 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 27th of February in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of March.

Watts Water Technologies's upcoming dividend is US$0.23 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.92 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Watts Water Technologies has a trailing yield of approximately 0.9% on its current stock price of $106.11. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Watts Water Technologies

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Watts Water Technologies has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 23% of its income after tax. 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. It paid out 19% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.

It's positive to see that Watts Water Technologies'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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NYSE:WTS Historical Dividend Yield, February 24th 2020

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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's comforting to see Watts Water Technologies's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 22% per annum for the past five years. Watts Water Technologies 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. Watts Water Technologies has delivered an average of 7.7% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past ten years of dividend payments. 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.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Watts Water Technologies for the upcoming dividend? We love that Watts Water Technologies 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. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

Curious what other investors think of Watts Water Technologies? See what analysts 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.