National Bank of Canada (TSE:NA) will increase its dividend on the 1st of August to CA$0.92. This takes the annual payment to 3.5% of the current stock price, which is about average for the industry.
National Bank of Canada's Earnings Easily Cover the Distributions
We like a dividend to be consistent over the long term, so checking whether it is sustainable is important. Prior to this announcement, National Bank of Canada's earnings easily covered the dividend, but free cash flows were negative. We think that cash flows should take priority over earnings, so this is definitely a worry for the dividend going forward.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to fall by 1.4% over the next year. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio could be 37%, which we consider to be quite comfortable, with most of the company's earnings left over to grow the business in the future.
National Bank of Canada Has A Solid Track Record
The company has an extended history of paying stable dividends. The first annual payment during the last 10 years was CA$1.42 in 2012, and the most recent fiscal year payment was CA$3.68. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10.0% a year over that time. The dividend has been growing very nicely for a number of years, and has given its shareholders some nice income in their portfolios.
The Dividend Looks Likely To Grow
The company's investors will be pleased to have been receiving dividend income for some time. National Bank of Canada has impressed us by growing EPS at 16% per year over the past five years. Growth in EPS bodes well for the dividend, as does the low payout ratio that the company is currently reporting.
In summary, while it's always good to see the dividend being raised, we don't think National Bank of Canada's payments are rock solid. While the low payout ratio is redeeming feature, this is offset by the minimal cash to cover the payments. We would be a touch cautious of relying on this stock primarily for the dividend income.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. For instance, we've picked out 1 warning sign for National Bank of Canada that investors should take into consideration. Is National Bank of Canada not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top dividend stocks.
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