It looks like Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 8th of February will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 19th of February.
Dolby Laboratories's next dividend payment will be US$0.22 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.88 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Dolby Laboratories has a trailing yield of 1.0% on the current share price of $91.19. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Fortunately Dolby Laboratories's payout ratio is modest, at just 28% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Fortunately, it paid out only 27% of its free cash flow in the past year.
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.
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. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Dolby Laboratories's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Dolby Laboratories has delivered 14% dividend growth per year on average over the past six years. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
The Bottom Line
Should investors buy Dolby Laboratories for the upcoming dividend? Dolby Laboratories has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. There's a lot to like about Dolby Laboratories, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Dolby Laboratories is facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Dolby Laboratories and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
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