Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Mahanagar Gas Limited (NSE:MGL) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 29th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of September.
Mahanagar Gas's next dividend payment will be ₹10.50 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of ₹20.00 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Mahanagar Gas has a trailing yield of 2.4% on the current stock price of ₹846.25. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Mahanagar Gas's dividend is reliable and sustainable. 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. Mahanagar Gas paid out a comfortable 34% of its profit last year. 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. Over the last year it paid out 72% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.
It's positive to see that Mahanagar Gas'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 earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Fortunately for readers, Mahanagar Gas's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. Mahanagar Gas is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 3 years ago, Mahanagar Gas has lifted its dividend by approximately 4.6% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
Is Mahanagar Gas an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. Mahanagar Gas looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Curious what other investors think of Mahanagar Gas? See what analysts 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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.