Readers hoping to buy Dover Corporation (NYSE:DOV) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. 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 of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Meaning, you will need to purchase Dover's shares before the 25th of February to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of March.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.50 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$2.00 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Dover has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of $159.03. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Dover paid out a comfortable 25% of its profit last year. 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 distributed 30% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
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 earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. For this reason, we're glad to see Dover's earnings per share have risen 19% per annum over the last five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Dover has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.2% 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
Should investors buy Dover for the upcoming dividend? We love that Dover is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about Dover, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
While it's tempting to invest in Dover for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Dover you should be aware of.
If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top 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.