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Why You Might Be Interested In First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You will need to purchase shares before the 29th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of September.

First Financial Bancorp's next dividend payment will be US$0.23 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.92 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that First Financial Bancorp has a trailing yield of 4.0% on the current share price of $22.93. 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 First Financial Bancorp has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for First Financial Bancorp

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Fortunately First Financial Bancorp's payout ratio is modest, at just 40% of profit.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

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

NasdaqGS:FFBC Historical Dividend Yield, August 24th 2019

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. For this reason, we're glad to see First Financial Bancorp's earnings per share have risen 20% per annum over the last five years.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, First Financial Bancorp has lifted its dividend by approximately 3.1% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.

The Bottom Line

Is First Financial Bancorp worth buying for its dividend? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This strategy can add significant value to shareholders over the long term - as long as it's done without issuing too many new shares. We think this is a pretty attractive combination, and would be interested in investigating First Financial Bancorp more closely.

Wondering what the future holds for First Financial Bancorp? See what the seven 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.

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.