Why It Might Not Make Sense To Buy Acadian Timber Corp. (TSE:ADN) For Its Upcoming Dividend
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 Acadian Timber Corp. (TSE:ADN) is about to go ex-dividend in just four days. 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. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Acadian Timber's shares on or after the 30th of March, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 15th of April.
The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.29 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$1.16 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Acadian Timber has a trailing yield of 7.3% on the current share price of CA$15.98. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
See our latest analysis for Acadian Timber
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. Acadian Timber paid out more than half (55%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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 paid out 108% of its free cash flow in the form of dividends last year, which is outside the comfort zone for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings - expenses don't pay themselves - so it's not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.
Acadian Timber paid out less in dividends than it reported in profits, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough cash to cover the dividend. Were this to happen repeatedly, this would be a risk to Acadian Timber's ability to maintain its dividend.
Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.
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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Acadian Timber, with earnings per share up 2.6% on average over the last five years. Earnings have been growing somewhat, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Acadian Timber has increased its dividend at approximately 3.5% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
The Bottom Line
Has Acadian Timber got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have grown somewhat, although Acadian Timber paid out over half its profits and the dividend was not well covered by free cash flow. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.
With that in mind though, if the poor dividend characteristics of Acadian Timber don't faze you, it's worth being mindful of the risks involved with this business. We've identified 3 warning signs with Acadian Timber (at least 1 which is concerning), and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
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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