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Midwich Group plc (LON:MIDW) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next day or so. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Midwich Group's shares before the 16th of September to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 25th of October.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.033 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed UK£0.066 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Midwich Group has a trailing yield of 1.1% on the current share price of £6.01. 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! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
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. It paid out 88% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. We'd be worried about the risk of a drop in earnings.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Midwich Group's earnings per share have plummeted approximately 65% a year over the previous five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last five years, Midwich Group has lifted its dividend by approximately 17% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. Midwich Group is already paying out 88% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Midwich Group? Earnings per share have been declining and the company is paying out more than half its profits to shareholders; not an enticing combination. We're unconvinced on the company's merits, and think there might be better opportunities out there.
If you're not too concerned about Midwich Group's ability to pay dividends, you should still be mindful of some of the other risks that this business faces. For example - Midwich Group has 4 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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