Leggett & Platt's (NYSE:LEG) Shareholders Will Receive A Bigger Dividend Than Last Year

·3 min read

The board of Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE:LEG) has announced that the dividend on 15th of July will be increased to US$0.44, which will be 4.8% higher than last year. This makes the dividend yield 4.6%, which is above the industry average.

See our latest analysis for Leggett & Platt

Leggett & Platt's Dividend Is Well Covered By Earnings

We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. Prior to this announcement, Leggett & Platt's dividend was only 57% of earnings, however it was paying out 102% of free cash flows. While the company may be more focused on returning cash to shareholders than growing the business at this time, we think that a cash payout ratio this high might expose the dividend to being cut if the business ran into some challenges.

Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to fall by 6.6% over the next year. Assuming the dividend continues along recent trends, we believe the payout ratio could be 63%, which we are pretty comfortable with and we think is feasible on an earnings basis.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Leggett & Platt Has A Solid Track Record

The company has a sustained record of paying dividends with very little fluctuation. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from US$1.08 to US$1.68. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 4.5% a year over that time. Although we can't deny that the dividend has been remarkably stable in the past, the growth has been pretty muted.

Dividend Growth May Be Hard To Achieve

Investors who have held shares in the company for the past few years will be happy with the dividend income they have received. However, Leggett & Platt has only grown its earnings per share at 2.8% per annum over the past five years. Growth of 2.8% may indicate that the company has limited investment opportunity so it is returning its earnings to shareholders instead. This isn't bad in itself, but unless earnings growth pick up we wouldn't expect dividends to grow either.

Our Thoughts On Leggett & Platt's Dividend

Overall, we always like to see the dividend being raised, but we don't think Leggett & Platt will make a great income stock. With cash flows lacking, it is difficult to see how the company can sustain a dividend payment. This company is not in the top tier of income providing stocks.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Just as an example, we've come across 2 warning signs for Leggett & Platt you should be aware of, and 1 of them is potentially serious. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high yield dividend stocks.

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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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