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Don't Race Out To Buy Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) Just Because It's Going Ex-Dividend

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·3-min read
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It looks like Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 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 Herman Miller's shares on or after the 27th of May, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 15th of July.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.19 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.75 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Herman Miller has a trailing yield of approximately 1.7% on its current stock price of $45.18. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Herman Miller's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

View our latest analysis for Herman Miller

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. Herman Miller reported a loss after tax last year, which means it's paying a dividend despite being unprofitable. While this might be a one-off event, this is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. Given that the company reported a loss last year, we now need to see if it generated enough free cash flow to fund the dividend. If cash earnings don't cover the dividend, the company would have to pay dividends out of cash in the bank, or by borrowing money, neither of which is long-term sustainable. It paid out 10.0% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Herman Miller reported a loss last year, and the general trend suggests its earnings have also been declining in recent years, making us wonder if the dividend is at risk.

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, Herman Miller has lifted its dividend by approximately 24% a year on average.

We update our analysis on Herman Miller every 24 hours, so you can always get the latest insights on its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Is Herman Miller an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? First, it's not great to see the company paying a dividend despite being loss-making over the last year. On the plus side, the dividend was 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.

Although, if you're still interested in Herman Miller and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for Herman Miller and you should be aware of this before buying any 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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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