Should You Buy The North West Company Inc. (TSE:NWC) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

·3 min read

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see The North West Company Inc. (TSE:NWC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase North West's shares before the 29th of June to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of July.

The company's next dividend payment will be CA$0.37 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of CA$1.48 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, North West has a trailing yield of 4.3% on the current stock price of CA$34.26. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for North West

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. North West paid out a comfortable 50% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether North West generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Dividends consumed 59% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

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.

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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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. For this reason, we're glad to see North West's earnings per share have risen 14% per annum over the last five years. North West has an average payout ratio which suggests a balance between growing earnings and rewarding shareholders. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, North West has increased its dividend at approximately 3.5% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid North West? Earnings per share have grown at a nice rate in recent times and over the last year, North West paid out less than half its earnings and a bit over half its free cash flow. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for North West you should know about.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

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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.