A headline came across the tape today that seems pretty innocuous on the surface. “Windstream Declares 25-Cent Quarterly Dividend” should not rattle anyone much on the surface. The problem is that, while most companies are raising their dividends, Windstream Corp. (NASDAQ: WIN) is actually a very high-yield dividend-paying communications and technology solutions stock that many investors are worried may cut the dividend.
This press release simply shows the board’s declaration of a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per common share payable July 15, 2013, to stockholders of record as of June 28, 2013. The translation is a $1.00 per share per year for its dividend, as has been the case since 2006. Windstream’s common stock dividend yield is a whopping 11.7%.
Investors have to consider that this company’s $5 billion stock valuation is leveraged up in debt with a negative net tangible value. And the $1.00 per share per year dividend compares to normalized earnings of $0.44 per share in 2012 and compares to earnings estimates of $0.44 for 2013 and $0.51 for 2014. Sales have grown in the past two years but are expected to remain somewhat flat for 2013 and 2014 around $6.1 billion. Flat sales and per share income that is half the dividend payout do not exactly fit the bill of a company that can keep maintaining a high-yield dividend forever.
Shares rose by 2% to $8.55 after the dividend news broke, against a 52-week trading range of $7.86 to $11.42. Again, this is a company that is leveraged and fits the screening criteria of a company that may have to heavily cut the dividend.