It looks like MTY Food Group Inc. (TSE:MTY) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 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. This means that investors who purchase MTY Food Group's shares on or after the 2nd of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of November.
The company's next dividend payment will be CA$0.25 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed CA$1.00 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, MTY Food Group has a trailing yield of approximately 1.9% on its current stock price of CA$51.59. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. MTY Food Group has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 25% of its income after tax. 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. It paid out 17% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
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.
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, MTY Food Group's earnings per share have been growing at 11% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, MTY Food Group has lifted its dividend by approximately 14% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid MTY Food Group? It's great that MTY Food Group is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. 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. Our analysis shows 3 warning signs for MTY Food Group and you should be aware of them before buying any shares.
Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.
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.