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Should You Buy Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ALSN) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ALSN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. 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. In other words, investors can purchase Allison Transmission Holdings' shares before the 17th of May in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of May.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.00 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Allison Transmission Holdings has a trailing yield of approximately 1.3% on its current stock price of US$76.52. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Allison Transmission Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether Allison Transmission Holdings can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

See our latest analysis for Allison Transmission Holdings

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Allison Transmission Holdings paid out just 12% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 13% of its cash flow last year.

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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.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. This is why it's a relief to see Allison Transmission Holdings earnings per share are up 9.8% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share have been increasing steadily and management is reinvesting almost all of the profits back into the business. If profits are reinvested effectively, this could be a bullish combination for future earnings and dividends.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Allison Transmission Holdings has delivered an average of 7.6% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Has Allison Transmission Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share growth has been growing somewhat, and Allison Transmission Holdings is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. It might be nice to see earnings growing faster, but Allison Transmission Holdings is being conservative with its dividend payouts and could still perform reasonably over the long run. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

So while Allison Transmission Holdings looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Allison Transmission Holdings and you should be aware of them before buying any 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.