It looks like Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WOR) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 14th of September to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 29th of September.
Worthington Industries's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.00 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Worthington Industries has a trailing yield of approximately 2.5% on its current stock price of $40.56. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Worthington Industries's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Worthington Industries paid out 67% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. 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. The good news is it paid out just 22% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's positive to see that Worthington Industries's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. This is why it's a relief to see Worthington Industries earnings per share are up 4.4% per annum over the last five years. Earnings growth has been slim and the company is paying out more than half of its earnings. While there is some room to both increase the payout ratio and reinvest in the business, generally the higher a payout ratio goes, the lower a company's prospects for future growth.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Worthington Industries has delivered an average of 9.6% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
To Sum It Up
Has Worthington Industries got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? While earnings per share growth has been modest, Worthington Industries's dividend payouts are around an average level; without a sharp change in earnings we feel that the dividend is likely somewhat sustainable. Pleasingly the company paid out a conservatively low percentage of its free cash flow. While it does have some good things going for it, we're a bit ambivalent and it would take more to convince us of Worthington Industries's dividend merits.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Worthington Industries is facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 3 warning signs with Worthington Industries and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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. 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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