Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Medallion Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:MFIN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Medallion Financial's shares before the 12th of May to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of May.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.08 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.32 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Medallion Financial has a trailing yield of approximately 5.2% on its current stock price of $6.12. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. 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. Medallion Financial paid out just 15% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances.
When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.
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. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's encouraging to see Medallion Financial has grown its earnings rapidly, up 185% a year for the past five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Medallion Financial's dividend payments per share have declined at 9.2% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. Medallion Financial is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.
The Bottom Line
Is Medallion Financial worth buying for its dividend? Typically, companies that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings are keeping the profits for reinvestment in the business. This strategy can add significant value to shareholders over the long term - as long as it's done without issuing too many new shares. Medallion Financial ticks a lot of boxes for us from a dividend perspective, and we think these characteristics should mark the company as deserving of further attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Medallion Financial (of which 2 are concerning!) you should know about.
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.
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