It looks like Cabot Corporation (NYSE:CBT) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 29th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 13th of September.
Cabot's next dividend payment will be US$0.35 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.40 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Cabot stock has a trailing yield of around 3.7% on the current share price of $37.9. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Cabot paid out a comfortable 37% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Cabot generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 82% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company's ability to lift the dividend if there's no growth.
It's positive to see that Cabot'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. This is why it's a relief to see Cabot earnings per share are up 8.7% per annum over the last five years. While earnings have been growing at a credible rate, the company is paying out a majority of its earnings to shareholders. If management lifts the payout ratio further, we'd take this as a tacit signal that the company's growth prospects are slowing.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Cabot has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.9% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
To Sum It Up
Has Cabot got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share growth has been modest, and it's interesting that Cabot is paying out less than half of its earnings and more than half its cash flow to shareholders in the form of dividends. Overall, it's hard to get excited about Cabot from a dividend perspective.
Wondering what the future holds for Cabot? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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