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Bread Financial Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BFH) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 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 because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Meaning, you will need to purchase Bread Financial Holdings' shares before the 12th of May to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 17th of June.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.21 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.84 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Bread Financial Holdings has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $53.99. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. 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. Bread Financial Holdings paid out just 5.6% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Bread Financial Holdings generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 2.9% of its cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that Bread Financial Holdings'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?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Bread Financial Holdings's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Bread Financial Holdings has seen its dividend decline 14% per annum on average over the past six years, which is not great to see. It's unusual to see earnings per share increasing at the same time as dividends per share have been in decline. We'd hope it's because the company is reinvesting heavily in its business, but it could also suggest business is lumpy.
Should investors buy Bread Financial Holdings for the upcoming dividend? Bread Financial Holdings has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past six years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
While it's tempting to invest in Bread Financial Holdings for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. Our analysis shows 4 warning signs for Bread Financial Holdings that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.
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.