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 Unity Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNTY) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 12th of September in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 27th of September.
Unity Bancorp's next dividend payment will be US$0.08 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.32 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Unity Bancorp has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $20.35. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Unity Bancorp's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Unity Bancorp paid out just 14% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances.
Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the 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 Unity Bancorp has grown its earnings rapidly, up 34% a year for the past five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Unity Bancorp has delivered 44% dividend growth per year on average over the past 6 years. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Unity Bancorp? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This strategy can add significant value to shareholders over the long term - as long as it's done without issuing too many new shares. In summary, Unity Bancorp appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.
Want to learn more about Unity Bancorp? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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