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 Australian United Investment Company Limited (ASX:AUI) is about to go ex-dividend in just four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a 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. In other words, investors can purchase Australian United Investment's shares before the 1st of September in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 23rd of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be AU$0.19 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of AU$0.36 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Australian United Investment stock has a trailing yield of around 3.5% on the current share price of A$10.3. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether Australian United Investment has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
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. Australian United Investment distributed an unsustainably high 111% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without more sustainable payment behaviour, the dividend looks precarious.
When a company pays out a dividend that is not well covered by profits, the dividend is generally seen as more vulnerable to being cut.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's not encouraging to see that Australian United Investment's earnings are effectively flat over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Australian United Investment has increased its dividend at approximately 3.3% a year on average.
Has Australian United Investment got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Australian United Investment has an uncomfortably high payout ratio, and its earnings have not grown at all. This is not an overtly appealing combination of characteristics, and we're just not that interested in this company's dividend.
With that being said, if you're still considering Australian United Investment as an investment, you'll find it beneficial to know what risks this stock is facing. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Australian United Investment (1 is a bit concerning!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the shares.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top 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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