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Why You Should Leave ATN International, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ATNI) Upcoming Dividend On The Shelf

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It looks like ATN International, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATNI) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 30th of March in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of April.

ATN International's next dividend payment will be US$0.17 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.68 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, ATN International has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of $51.28. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

Check out our latest analysis for ATN International

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. ATN International paid a dividend last year despite being unprofitable. This might be a one-off event, but it's not a sustainable state of affairs in the long run. With the recent loss, it's important to check if the business generated enough cash to pay its dividend. If ATN International didn't generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. It paid out more than half (72%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

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

NasdaqGS:ATNI Historical Dividend Yield March 26th 2020
NasdaqGS:ATNI Historical Dividend Yield March 26th 2020

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. ATN International was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last five years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. ATN International's dividend payments per share have declined at 0.6% per year on average over the past ten years, which is uninspiring.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of ATN International's financial health, by checking our visualisation of its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Is ATN International worth buying for its dividend? It's hard to get used to ATN International paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. At least the dividend was covered by free cash flow, however. Bottom line: ATN International has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Curious what other investors think of ATN International? 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.