The board of Balfour Beatty plc (LON:BBY) has announced that the dividend on 5th of December will be increased to £0.035, which will be 17% higher than last year's payment of £0.03 which covered the same period. Although the dividend is now higher, the yield is only 2.7%, which is below the industry average.
Balfour Beatty's Earnings Easily Cover The Distributions
If it is predictable over a long period, even low dividend yields can be attractive. However, prior to this announcement, Balfour Beatty's dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. As a result, a large proportion of what it earned was being reinvested back into the business.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to rise by 16.9% over the next year. If the dividend continues along recent trends, we estimate the payout ratio will be 33%, which is in the range that makes us comfortable with the sustainability of the dividend.
The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from £0.138 total annually to £0.09. The dividend has shrunk at around 4.2% a year during that period. A company that decreases its dividend over time generally isn't what we are looking for.
The Dividend Looks Likely To Grow
With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share is growing, which could point to a growing dividend in the future. It's encouraging to see that Balfour Beatty has been growing its earnings per share at 55% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share is growing at a solid clip, and the payout ratio is low which we think is an ideal combination in a dividend stock as the company can quite easily raise the dividend in the future.
We Really Like Balfour Beatty's Dividend
Overall, a dividend increase is always good, and we think that Balfour Beatty is a strong income stock thanks to its track record and growing earnings. The company is easily earning enough to cover its dividend payments and it is great to see that these earnings are being translated into cash flow. Taking this all into consideration, this looks like it could be a good dividend opportunity.
Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. For example, we've identified 3 warning signs for Balfour Beatty (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing. Is Balfour Beatty not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out our selection of top 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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