Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it’s exciting to see Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (ETR:BMW) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company’s books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Accordingly, Bayerische Motoren Werke investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of May will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of May.

The company’s next dividend payment will be €8.50 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of €8.50 to shareholders. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, Bayerische Motoren Werke stock has a trailing yield of around 7.9% on the current share price of €107.54. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether Bayerische Motoren Werke has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for Bayerische Motoren Werke

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Bayerische Motoren Werke paid a comfortable 49% of its profit last year. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. The good news is that it paid out just 22% of its free cash flow in the last 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 a business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company can see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we’re encouraged by the steady growth at Bayerische Motoren Werke, with earnings per share up 6.0% on average over the last five years. Management has been reinvested more than half of the company’s earnings within the business, and the company has been able to grow earnings with this retained capital. Organizations that reinvest heavily in themselves typically get stronger over time, which can bring attractive benefits such as stronger earnings and dividends.

Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Bayerische Motoren Werke has delivered 14% 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.

The Bottom Line

Has Bayerische Motoren Werke got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Bayerische Motoren Werke 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 Bayerische Motoren Werke is halfway there. 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. For example, we’ve found 4 warning signs for Bayerische Motoren Werke (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that deserves your attention before investing in the shares.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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By sampay