Albertsons Companies, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. 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. Accordingly, Albertsons Companies investors that purchase the stock on or after the 23rd of July will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of August.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.40 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Albertsons Companies stock has a trailing yield of around 2.0% on the current share price of $19.89. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. 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. Albertsons Companies has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 13% of its income after tax. 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 7.0% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's positive to see that Albertsons Companies'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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That's why it's comforting to see Albertsons Companies's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 167% per annum for the past three years. Albertsons Companies earnings per share have been sprinting ahead like the Road Runner at a track and field day; scarcely stopping even for a cheeky "beep-beep". We also like that it is reinvesting most of its profits in its business.'
Given that Albertsons Companies has only been paying a dividend for a year, there's not much of a past history to draw insight from.
To Sum It Up
Is Albertsons Companies an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We love that Albertsons Companies 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. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example – Albertsons Companies has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
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