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 Badger Meter, Inc. (NYSE:BMI) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 29th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of September.
Badger Meter's upcoming dividend is US$0.17 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.60 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Badger Meter has a trailing yield of approximately 1.2% on its current stock price of $49.8. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether Badger Meter has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately Badger Meter's payout ratio is modest, at just 48% of profit. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. It distributed 26% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's positive to see that Badger Meter'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?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. This is why it's a relief to see Badger Meter earnings per share are up 7.8% per annum over the last five years. The company is retaining more than half of its earnings within the business, and it has been growing earnings at a decent rate. Organisations that reinvest heavily in themselves typically get stronger over time, which can bring attractive benefits such as stronger earnings and dividends.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 10 years, Badger Meter has lifted its dividend by approximately 11% a year on average. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
The Bottom Line
Is Badger Meter worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Badger Meter is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. It might be nice to see earnings growing faster, but Badger Meter is being conservative with its dividend payouts and could still perform reasonably over the long run. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
Wondering what the future holds for Badger Meter? See what the six analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.