Ex-dividend date is an important one if you want to be eligible for a dividend payment — as long as you hold the shares up to and including that day, you’ll get your money. Alternatively, sometimes share prices fall further than expected when the day comes around, and if you’re careful you can perhaps pick up a bargain.
Here are three FTSE 100 companies reaching the critical date on Wednesday, 21 August:
British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) (NYSE: BTI.US) is to pay a first-half dividend of 45p per share, with next Wednesday being the key date for qualifying. The payment represents a 7% rise over the first half of the previous year, and came after the company enjoyed a 10% rise in earnings per share (EPS), at constant exchange rates, to 111p. Adjusted operating profit was up 6%, to £2.94bn.
The currently-forecast full-year dividend of around 145p would require a similar 7% rise in the final dividend, and that looks like a reasonable expectation on these results. If paid, it would provide shareholders with a 4.2% yield based on today’s 3,456p share price.
Cruise operator Carnival (LSE: CCL) (NYSE: CCL.US) released first-half results on 25 June, and showed a fall in revenue to $7.07bn, from $7.12bn in the first half of the previous year. But it did turn in positive EPS of 10 cents, and kept its quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share unchanged with the total for the first half steady at 50 cents. The firm also told us it expected full-year EPS to be down from $1.88 to somewhere between $1.45 and $1.65.
At the moment, it’s looking as if the full-year dividend will remain unchanged at $1 per share, or approximately 65p. With the shares currently trading at 2,476p, that would provide a modest yield of 2.6%.
Our third for next Wednesday is outsourcing firm Capita (LSE: CPI), which will go ex-dividend with respect to a first-half dividend of 8.7p per share. That was a welcome boost of 10% from the 7.9p paid for the same period the previous year, and a repeat of that rise in the final dividend would yield around 2.6%.
That’s not a massive payment, but the shares are up around 40% over the past 12 months, so the dividend adds a nice sweetener to that. We are looking at a slightly lofty P/E based on current forecasts of 18, but Capita has grown its earnings for five straight years and has two more years of growth forecast.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.