Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) Will Pay A Dividend Of $0.15

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) has announced that it will pay a dividend of $0.15 per share on the 1st of May. This means the annual payment will be 1.3% of the current stock price, which is lower than the industry average.

View our latest analysis for Freeport-McMoRan

Freeport-McMoRan's Earnings Easily Cover The Distributions

Even a low dividend yield can be attractive if it is sustained for years on end. Prior to this announcement, Freeport-McMoRan's dividend was only 47% of earnings, however it was paying out 189% of free cash flows. While the company may be more focused on returning cash to shareholders than growing the business at this time, we think that a cash payout ratio this high might expose the dividend to being cut if the business ran into some challenges.

The next year is set to see EPS grow by 79.4%. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we think the payout ratio could be 22% by next year, which is in a pretty sustainable range.

historic-dividendDividend Volatility

The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2014, the dividend has gone from $1.25 total annually to $0.60. Doing the maths, this is a decline of about 7.1% per year. Generally, we don't like to see a dividend that has been declining over time as this can degrade shareholders' returns and indicate that the company may be running into problems.

Dividend Growth Is Doubtful

Dividends have been going in the wrong direction, so we definitely want to see a different trend in the earnings per share. Freeport-McMoRan has seen earnings per share falling at 6.6% per year over the last five years. Declining earnings will inevitably lead to the company paying a lower dividend in line with lower profits. Earnings are predicted to grow over the next year, but we would remain cautious until a track record of earnings growth is established.

Freeport-McMoRan's Dividend Doesn't Look Sustainable

In summary, while it's good to see that the dividend hasn't been cut, we are a bit cautious about Freeport-McMoRan's payments, as there could be some issues with sustaining them into the future. While Freeport-McMoRan is earning enough to cover the payments, the cash flows are lacking. We would probably look elsewhere for an income investment.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. For example, we've picked out 1 warning sign for Freeport-McMoRan that investors should know about before committing capital to this stock. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high yield dividend stocks.

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

Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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