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Readers hoping to buy Silicon Motion Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:SIMO) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 10th of November, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 25th of November.

Silicon Motion Technology’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. Last year’s total dividend payments show that Silicon Motion Technology has a trailing yield of 3.9% on the current share price of $36.19. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

View 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. Silicon Motion Technology is paying out an acceptable 57% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Silicon Motion Technology generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 44% 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?

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. Fortunately for readers, Silicon Motion Technology’s earnings per share have been growing at 13% a year for the past five years. Silicon Motion Technology is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. Given the quick rate of earnings per share growth and current level of payout, there may be a chance of further dividend increases in the future.

Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, eight years ago, Silicon Motion Technology has lifted its dividend by approximately 11% a year on average. It’s exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Silicon Motion Technology? We like Silicon Motion Technology’s growing earnings per share and the fact that – while its payout ratio is around average – it paid out a lower percentage of its cash flow. 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. To help with this, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Silicon Motion Technology that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.

We wouldn’t recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here’s a list of interesting 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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