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Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) Looks Interesting, And It's About To Pay A Dividend

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It looks like Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) 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 because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Therefore, if you purchase Forward Air's shares on or after the 25th of May, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 14th of June.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.24 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.96 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Forward Air has a trailing yield of 1.0% on the current stock price of $92.99. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Forward Air

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Forward Air is paying out just 17% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. It paid out 19% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.

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.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Forward Air has grown its earnings rapidly, up 42% a year for the past five years. Forward Air looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Forward Air has lifted its dividend by approximately 13% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

Final Takeaway

Is Forward Air worth buying for its dividend? We love that Forward Air 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. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

Wondering what the future holds for Forward Air? See what the six analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.

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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