It looks like Silicon Motion Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:SIMO) is about to go 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 as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company’s books on the record date. In other words, investors can purchase Silicon Motion Technology’s shares before the 4th of August in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 19th of August.

The company’s next dividend payment will be US$0.35 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.40 to shareholders. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, Silicon Motion Technology stock has a trailing yield of around 1.9% on the current share price of $74.99. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Silicon Motion Technology’s dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it’s growing.

See our latest analysis for Silicon Motion Technology

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Fortunately Silicon Motion Technology’s payout ratio is modest, at just 45% of profit. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Silicon Motion Technology generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 44% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

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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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. Fortunately for readers, Silicon Motion Technology’s earnings per share have been growing at 13% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. 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. Since the start of our data, nine years ago, Silicon Motion Technology has lifted its dividend by approximately 9.9% a year on average. It’s encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

The Bottom Line

Has Silicon Motion Technology got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We love that Silicon Motion Technology 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. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

While it’s tempting to invest in Silicon Motion Technology for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Silicon Motion Technology you should be aware of.

If you’re in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top 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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By Harry