Readers hoping to buy Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. You will need to purchase shares before the 29th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of September.
Whirlpool's next dividend payment will be US$1.20 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$4.80 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Whirlpool has a trailing yield of approximately 3.6% on its current stock price of $134.55. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Whirlpool's dividend is reliable and sustainable. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Whirlpool paying out a modest 32% 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. It paid out more than half (74%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.
It's positive to see that Whirlpool'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?
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 earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Whirlpool, with earnings per share up 6.5% on average over the last five years. While earnings have been growing at a credible rate, the company is paying out a majority of its earnings to shareholders. Therefore it's unlikely that the company will be able to reinvest heavily in its business, which could presage slower growth in the future.
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, 10 years ago, Whirlpool has lifted its dividend by approximately 11% a year on average. 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.
To Sum It Up
Has Whirlpool got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been growing at a steady rate, and Whirlpool paid out less than half its profits and more than half its free cash flow as dividends over the last year. Overall we're not hugely bearish on the stock, but there are likely better dividend investments out there.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Whirlpool? See what the nine analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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