It looks like REV Group, Inc. (NYSE:REVG) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. In other words, investors can purchase REV Group's shares before the 29th of September in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 14th of October.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.05 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.20 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, REV Group stock has a trailing yield of around 1.8% on the current share price of $11.39. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's 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. REV Group distributed an unsustainably high 189% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without extenuating circumstances, we'd consider the dividend at risk of a cut. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 14% of its cash flow last year.
It's good to see that while REV Group's dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we'd be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see REV Group's earnings per share have dropped 28% a year over the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. REV Group's dividend payments are effectively flat on where they were six years ago. If a company's dividend stays flat while earnings are in decline, this is typically a sign that it is paying out a larger percentage of its earnings. This can become unsustainable if earnings fall far enough.
To Sum It Up
Is REV Group an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's never great to see earnings per share declining, especially when a company is paying out 189% of its profit as dividends, which we feel is uncomfortably high. Yet cashflow was much stronger, which makes us wonder if there are some large timing issues in REV Group's cash flows, or perhaps the company has written down some assets aggressively, reducing its income. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of REV Group.
Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with REV Group. Be aware that REV Group is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is potentially serious...
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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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