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Why You Should Leave PotlatchDeltic Corporation (NASDAQ:PCH)'s Upcoming Dividend On The Shelf

Simply Wall St

PotlatchDeltic Corporation (NASDAQ:PCH) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 12th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of September.

PotlatchDeltic's next dividend payment will be US$0.40 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.60 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, PotlatchDeltic has a trailing yield of approximately 4.1% on its current stock price of $39.06. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for PotlatchDeltic

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. PotlatchDeltic paid out more than half (70%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. While PotlatchDeltic seems to be paying out a very high percentage of its income, REITs have different dividend payment behaviour and so, while we don't think this is great, we also don't think it is unusual. 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. Dividends consumed 70% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

It's positive to see that PotlatchDeltic'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.

NasdaqGS:PCH Historical Dividend Yield, September 7th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see PotlatchDeltic's earnings per share have dropped 5.7% a year over the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. PotlatchDeltic's dividend payments per share have declined at 2.4% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. While it's not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we're encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy PotlatchDeltic for the upcoming dividend? While earnings per share are shrinking, it's encouraging to see that at least PotlatchDeltic's dividend appears sustainable, with earnings and cashflow payout ratios that are within reasonable bounds. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

Ever wonder what the future holds for PotlatchDeltic? See what the six 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.