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There's A Lot To Like About Stantec's (TSE:STN) Upcoming CA$0.20 Dividend

Stantec Inc. (TSE:STN) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in four 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 of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Therefore, if you purchase Stantec's shares on or after the 30th of March, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 17th of April.

The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.20 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$0.72 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Stantec has a trailing yield of 1.0% on the current share price of CA$75.97. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Stantec's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

View our latest analysis for Stantec

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Stantec paid out a comfortable 32% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Stantec generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 34% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

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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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Stantec has grown its earnings rapidly, up 21% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very quickly, and the company is paying out a relatively low percentage of its profit and cash flow. This is a very favourable combination that can often lead to the dividend multiplying over the long term, if earnings grow and the company pays out a higher percentage of its earnings.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Stantec has delivered 10% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

The Bottom Line

Is Stantec an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We love that Stantec is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about Stantec, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Stantec that you should be aware of before investing in their 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.

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