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It looks like SpartanNash Company (NASDAQ:SPTN) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 2 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. Thus, you can purchase SpartanNash’s shares before the 14th of September in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 30th of September.

The company’s next dividend payment will be US$0.20 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.80 per share. Last year’s total dividend payments show that SpartanNash has a trailing yield of 3.8% on the current share price of $21. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether SpartanNash has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for SpartanNash

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. SpartanNash paid out a comfortable 41% of its profit last year. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Fortunately, it paid out only 27% of its free cash flow in the past year.

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?

Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it’s easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we’re encouraged by the steady growth at SpartanNash, with earnings per share up 2.6% on average over the last five years. Recent growth has not been impressive. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.

The main way most investors will assess a company’s dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. SpartanNash has delivered 15% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It’s encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy SpartanNash for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and SpartanNash is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine significant earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and SpartanNash is halfway there. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example – SpartanNash has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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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