Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF.B) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four 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 an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Thus, you can purchase Brown-Forman's shares before the 2nd of December in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 28th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.19 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.72 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Brown-Forman has a trailing yield of 1.0% on the current stock price of $74.4. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. Fortunately Brown-Forman's payout ratio is modest, at just 44% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Fortunately, it paid out only 40% of its free cash flow in the past year.
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?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Brown-Forman's 5.2% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 10 years, Brown-Forman has lifted its dividend by approximately 8.2% a year on average.
To Sum It Up
Is Brown-Forman worth buying for its dividend? Brown-Forman has comfortably low cash and profit payout ratios, which may mean the dividend is sustainable even in the face of a sharp decline in earnings per share. Still, we consider declining earnings to be a warning sign. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Brown-Forman is facing. To help with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Brown-Forman that you should be aware of before investing in their 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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