Rocky Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:RCKY) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 30th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 17th of September.
Rocky Brands's next dividend payment will be US$0.14 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.56 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Rocky Brands has a trailing yield of 2.0% on the current stock price of $28.63. 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.
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. Rocky Brands has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 24% of its income after tax. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 31% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
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.
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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, Rocky Brands's earnings per share have been growing at 16% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 6 years, Rocky Brands has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.8% 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 Rocky Brands an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We love that Rocky Brands is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about Rocky Brands, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Want to learn more about Rocky Brands? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.
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.
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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.