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Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE:HBI) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next two days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. This means that investors who purchase Hanesbrands' shares on or after the 9th of May will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of May.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.15 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.60 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Hanesbrands has a trailing yield of 4.7% on the current share price of $12.71. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. That's why it's good to see Hanesbrands paying out a modest 40% of its earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Fortunately, it paid out only 38% of its free cash flow in the past year.
It's positive to see that Hanesbrands'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?
Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. 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 explains why we're not overly excited about Hanesbrands's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share. Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, nine years ago, Hanesbrands has lifted its dividend by approximately 13% a year on average.
The Bottom Line
Should investors buy Hanesbrands for the upcoming dividend? The company has barely grown earnings per share over this time, but at least it's paying out a decently low percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. This could suggest management is reinvesting in future growth opportunities. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine strong earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Hanesbrands is halfway there. There's a lot to like about Hanesbrands, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Hanesbrands is facing. We've identified 3 warning signs with Hanesbrands (at least 1 which is a bit concerning), and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
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.
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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.