What is Dividend Payout Ratio & How to Calculate: Formula, Meaning, & Examples
The dividend payout ratio is an accounting measure that shows the percentage of a company's earnings that are distributed to shareholders as dividends. This ratio is a critical tool for investors wishing to determine a company's financial health and the potential to provide a consistent source of income. In this article, we will look at the concept of the dividend payout ratio, how it is calculated, and what it means for investors. We will also go over how businesses can manage their dividend payout ratio, as well as the risks and benefits of having high and low payout ratios.
What Is the Dividend Payout Ratio?
The dividend payout ratio indicates how much of a business's EAT (earnings after tax) is distributed to shareholders.
Dividend payments indicate that a company is profitable enough to share a portion of its profits with its shareholders, boosting shareholder and investor confidence in the management team. The dividend targets of a company are determined by the BoD (board of directors).
Investors are especially interested in the DP ratio because they want to check if businesses pay out a healthy portion of their net income to shareholders. For example, most start-ups and technology firms pay no dividends at all. In fact, Apple, which was founded in the 1970s, only recently delivered its first dividend to its shareholders in 2012.
In contrast, some companies are prepared to pay excessively high dividend proportions to pique investors' interest. Inventors recognize that these dividend rates cannot be maintained indefinitely because the company will ultimately require funds for operations.
Dividend Payout Ratio Formula
The Dividend Payout Ratio formula is as follows:
- DP ratio = Dividend / Net income
Additionally, you can also calculate DPR as follows:
- Dividend Payout Ratio (DPR) = 1 - Ratio of retention
Where retention ratio can be calculated by:
Retention Ratio (RR) = Retained Earnings / Net Income
Example Of DPR
Consider the hypothetical company XYZ, which earned a net profit of $10 million in its previous fiscal year. The company has one million outstanding shares and paid $1 million in dividends to shareholders last year. We can employ the following formula to determine the dividend payout ratio for the company:
DPR = Dividends Paid / Net Income
Using the numbers above, the DPR for XYZ is:
Dividend Payout Ratio = $1,000,000 / $10,000,000 = 0.1 or 10%
Hence, company XYZ distributed 10% of its net earnings to shareholders during the fiscal year as dividends. The company kept 90% of its net income for different purposes, including reinvestment in the business, debt repayment, and cash reserves.
Investors can use the dividend payout ratio to assess a company's financial well-being and ability to generate consistent returns.
A high DPR indicates that the company pays out a significant portion of all its earnings as dividends to its shareholders, which can be appealing to revenue-seeking shareholders.
On the contrary, a low DPR signifies that the company is preserving a more significant portion of its profits to invest in opportunities for growth, which can appeal to investors seeking long-term capital gains.
However, it should be noted that a high DPR isn't always sustainable, particularly if the company is facing financial difficulties or operates in a cyclical industry. In such instances, the company may be forced to reduce or halt dividend payments, which can harm the price of the stock and investor sentiment.
The DPR can also be used to assess a company's maturity, as shown below:
Younger, faster-growing businesses are more likely to document a low DPR because they reinvest most of their earnings in the company for growth and expansion.
More mature, developed companies with a steady but likely milder growth rate are more likely to maintain a relatively high DPR because they do not feel compelled to devote a large portion of their revenues to business expansion.
Dividend Yield vs. Dividend Payout
The dividend yield aims to compare the proportion of the dividend paid to the share price, whereas the DPR compares the amount of a business's dividend to its EPS (earnings per share).
The dividend yield is calculated using the following formula:
Dividend per share (DPS) / MPPS (market price per share) x 100
Dividend payout and dividend yield are two aspects of the same coin.
- Dividend yield likens the size of an earnings/dividend to the underpinning stock's market rate. It's a convenient method for depicting the rate of return (ROR) on shareholders' investments.
- Dividend payout evaluates the percentage of a business's net earnings dispersed to shareholders as dividends.
To summarize, the DPR is a crucial metric for investors to consider when assessing a company's financial health and potential to provide a consistent source of income. Individual investors can make informed investment choices and organize their portfolios for long-term income and growth by understanding the DPR and other related metrics.