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Four Days Left Until Fortis Inc. (TSE:FTS) Trades Ex-Dividend

It looks like Fortis Inc. (TSE:FTS) is about to go 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 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase Fortis' shares before the 15th of February to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be CA$0.59 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of CA$2.36 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Fortis has a trailing yield of 4.5% on the current share price of CA$52.56. 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 Fortis has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for Fortis

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. Fortis is paying out an acceptable 73% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies. Fortis paid a dividend despite reporting negative free cash flow over the last twelve months. This may be due to heavy investment in the business, but this is still suboptimal from a dividend sustainability perspective.

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Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. This is why it's a relief to see Fortis earnings per share are up 3.3% per annum over the last five years.

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, 10 years ago, Fortis has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.6% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Has Fortis got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been growing at a reasonable rate, and the company is paying out a bit over half its earnings as dividends. We think this is a pretty attractive combination, and would be interested in investigating Fortis more closely.

On that note, you'll want to research what risks Fortis is facing. For example, we've found 2 warning signs for Fortis (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that deserve your attention before investing in the shares.

A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.

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.