Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) Has Affirmed Its Dividend Of $0.29

Baxter International Inc. +0.28%

Baxter International Inc.

BAX

35.32

+0.28%

The board of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) has announced that it will pay a dividend on the 1st of July, with investors receiving $0.29 per share. This means the annual payment is 3.5% of the current stock price, which is above the average for the industry.

Baxter International Doesn't Earn Enough To Cover Its Payments

A big dividend yield for a few years doesn't mean much if it can't be sustained. Baxter International is not generating a profit, and despite this is paying out most of its free cash flow as a dividend. Generally it is unsustainable for a company to be paying a dividend while unprofitable, and with limited reinvestment into the business growth may be slow.

Earnings per share is forecast to rise by 141.5% over the next year. However, if the dividend continues along recent trends, it could start putting pressure on the balance sheet with the payout ratio getting very high over the next year.

historic-dividend
NYSE:BAX Historic Dividend May 30th 2024

Dividend Volatility

Although the company has a long dividend history, it has been cut at least once in the last 10 years. The annual payment during the last 10 years was $1.96 in 2014, and the most recent fiscal year payment was $1.16. This works out to be a decline of approximately 5.1% per year over that time. Generally, we don't like to see a dividend that has been declining over time as this can degrade shareholders' returns and indicate that the company may be running into problems.

The Dividend Has Limited Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. Over the past five years, it looks as though Baxter International's EPS has declined at around 49% a year. Dividend payments are likely to come under some pressure unless EPS can pull out of the nosedive it is in. It's not all bad news though, as the earnings are predicted to rise over the next 12 months - we would just be a bit cautious until this becomes a long term trend.

The Dividend Could Prove To Be Unreliable

Overall, it's nice to see a consistent dividend payment, but we think that longer term, the current level of payment might be unsustainable. The track record isn't great, and the payments are a bit high to be considered sustainable. We would be a touch cautious of relying on this stock primarily for the dividend income.

It's important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our collection of strong dividend payers.

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