It looks like abrdn plc (LON:ABDN) is about to go ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled 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. This means that investors who purchase abrdn's shares on or after the 18th of August will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 27th of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£0.073 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of UK£0.15 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that abrdn has a trailing yield of 8.3% on the current share price of £1.756. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. abrdn paid out 52% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses.
Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the 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. 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 abrdn earnings per share are up 5.9% per annum over the last five years.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. abrdn has seen its dividend decline 2.7% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. abrdn 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 abrdn worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing at a reasonable rate, and the company is paying out a bit over half its earnings as dividends. In sum this is a middling combination, and we find it hard to get excited about the company from a dividend perspective.
If you want to look further into abrdn, it's worth knowing the risks this business faces. For example - abrdn has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
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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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