Acadian Timber Corp. (TSE:ADN) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible 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. Accordingly, Acadian Timber investors that purchase the stock on or after the 28th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of October.
The company's next dividend payment will be CA$0.29 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of CA$1.16 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Acadian Timber stock has a trailing yield of around 6.5% on the current share price of CA$17.85. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Acadian Timber's dividend is reliable and sustainable. 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. Acadian Timber paid out 51% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Acadian Timber generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Acadian Timber paid out more free cash flow than it generated - 130%, to be precise - last year, which we think is concerningly high. We're curious about why the company paid out more cash than it generated last year, since this can be one of the early signs that a dividend may be unsustainable.
While Acadian Timber's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were Acadian Timber to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. 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 Acadian Timber earnings per share are up 4.0% per annum over the last five years. Earnings have been growing somewhat, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Acadian Timber has delivered an average of 3.5% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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
Is Acadian Timber worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have grown somewhat, although Acadian Timber paid out over half its profits and the dividend was not well covered by free cash flow. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.
So if you're still interested in Acadian Timber despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. To help with this, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Acadian Timber (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you ought to be aware of before buying the 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.