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Why You Might Be Interested In Americold Realty Trust (NYSE:COLD) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

It looks like Americold Realty Trust (NYSE:COLD) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 27th of September will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of October.

Americold Realty Trust's next dividend payment will be US$0.2 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.8 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Americold Realty Trust has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current share price of $36.86. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether Americold Realty Trust has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

View our latest analysis for Americold Realty Trust

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. Its dividend payout ratio is 82% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. While Americold Realty Trust 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. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Americold Realty Trust generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Over the last year it paid out 61% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

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

NYSE:COLD Historical Dividend Yield, September 22nd 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Americold Realty Trust has grown its earnings rapidly, up 73% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing at a rapid rate, yet the company is paying out more than three-quarters of its earnings.

We'd also point out that Americold Realty Trust issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Trying to grow the dividend while issuing large amounts of new shares reminds us of the ancient Greek tale of Sisyphus - perpetually pushing a boulder uphill.

Unfortunately Americold Realty Trust has only been paying a dividend for a year or so, so there's not much of a history to draw insight from.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Americold Realty Trust? Higher earnings per share generally lead to higher dividends from dividend-paying stocks over the long run. However, we'd also note that Americold Realty Trust is paying out more than half of its earnings and cash flow as profits, which could limit the dividend growth if earnings growth slows. In summary, while it has some positive characteristics, we're not inclined to race out and buy Americold Realty Trust today.

Curious what other investors think of Americold Realty Trust? See what analysts 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.