How to Calculate the Dividend Payout Ratio From an Income Statement

While this might have ruffled a few feathers initially, the long-term growth potential from such reinvestments can be substantial. For example, a new tech company might have a low ratio because it’s spending all its money on research and development (R&D). In contrast, a bigger, more established company in a stable industry might have a high ratio because it has steady earnings and isn’t looking to expand much more.

  1. Generally, the higher the payout ratio, especially if it is over 100%, the more its sustainability is in question.
  2. The dividend payout ratio is the ratio of total dividends relative to total net income, stated as a percentage.
  3. Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is a financial services company dedicated to making the world smarter, happier, and richer.
  4. The Dividend Payout Ratio (DPR) is the amount of dividends paid to shareholders in relation to the total amount of net income the company generates.
  5. It is therefore important to consider future earnings expectations and calculate a forward-looking payout ratio to contextualize the backward-looking one.

The FCFE ratio measures the amount of cash that could be paid out to shareholders after all expenses and debts have been paid. The FCFE is calculated by subtracting net capital expenditures, debt repayment, and change in net working capital from net income and adding net debt. Investors typically want to see that a company’s dividend payments are paid in full by FCFE. The dividend payout ratio provides insights into how much of a company’s earnings are allocated to dividends versus how much is retained for reinvestment or other operational needs. From a global view, dividend payout ratios vary across different regions due to cultural, economic, and regulatory factors. These elements combine to shape how companies in diverse parts of the world approach their dividend strategies.

How to calculate the dividend payout ratio

In other words, the dividend payout ratio measures the percentage of net income that is distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends. Mature companies no longer in the growth stage may choose to pay dividends to their shareholders. A dividend is a cash distribution of a company’s earnings to its shareholders, which is declared by the company’s board of directors. A company may also issue dividends in the form of stock or other assets. Generally, dividend rates are quoted in terms of dollars per share, or they may be quoted in terms of a percentage of the stock’s current market price per share, which is known as the dividend yield. That potentially puts them at risk of cutting the dividend if business conditions deteriorate.

Example of how to use the dividend payout ratio

There is another way to calculate this ratio, and it is by using the per-share information. Then you will need the declared dividend per share that can be found here. Another adjustment that can be made to provide a more accurate picture is to subtract preferred stock dividends for companies that issue preferred shares.

Dividend Payout Ratio Formula

While the dividend yield is the more commonly known and scrutinized term, many believe the dividend payout ratio is a better indicator of a company’s ability to distribute dividends consistently in the future. The dividend payout ratio is highly connected to a company’s cash flow. The payout ratio is also useful for assessing a dividend’s sustainability.

Some investors like to see a company with a higher ratio, indicating the company is mature and pays a higher proportion of its profits to shareholders. In fact, some high-growth companies may pay no dividends because they prefer to reinvest their profits in the business for future growth. A long-time popular stock for dividend investors, it slashed its dividends on February 4, 2022, in order to reinvest more cash into the business following its spin-off of WarnerMedia.

For those new to investing, this might sound complex, but in reality, it’s a simple yet powerful tool. Investors may hold onto a company’s stock with the belief that their compensation will come through appreciating stock prices, dividend payouts, or a mix of both. The purpose of paying out dividends is to incentivize investors to hold shares of a company’s stock.

Cash dividends per share may also be interpreted as the percentage of net income that is being paid out in the form of cash dividends. Companies that operate in mature, slower-growing sectors that generate lots of relatively steady cash flow may have higher dividend payout ratios. They don’t need to retain as much money to fund their business for things like opening new stores, building withholding allowance definition another factory, or on research and development for new products. For financially strong companies in these industries, a good dividend payout ratio may approach 75% (or higher in some cases) of their earnings. The dividend coverage ratio indicates the number of times a company could pay dividends to its common shareholders using its net income over a specified fiscal period.

The dividend yield shows how much a company has paid out in dividends over the course of a year about the stock price. The yield is presented as a percentage, not as an actual dollar amount. This makes it easier to see how much return per dollar invested the shareholder receives through dividends. To calculate the dividend payout ratio, the formula divides the dividend amount distributed in the period by the net income in the same period.

Below is a detailed guide to the dividend payout ratio, including how it’s used, why it matters, and how to calculate it. They divide the dividend for each share by the earnings for each share. This gives a closer look at how dividends are given out for each share of the company.

Looking at a company’s historical DPR helps investors determine whether or not the company’s likely investment returns are a good match for the investor’s portfolio, risk tolerance,  and investment goals. For example, looking at dividend payout ratios can help growth investors or value investors identify companies that may be a good fit for their overall investment strategy. The dividend payout ratio can be calculated as the yearly dividend per share divided by the earnings per share (EPS), or equivalently, or divided by net income dividend payout ratio on a per share basis. In this case, the formula used is dividends per share divided by earnings per share (EPS). EPS represents net income minus preferred stock dividends divided by the average number of outstanding shares over a given time period.

Let’s say Company ABC reports a net income of $100,000 and issues $25,000 in dividends. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. Hence, public companies are typically very reluctant to adjust their dividend policy, which is one reason behind the increased prevalence of share buybacks. Besides the dividend payout assumption, another assumption is that net income will experience negative growth and fall by $10m each year – starting at $200m in Year 0 to $170m in Year 4. If applicable, throughout earnings calls and within financial reports, public companies often suggest or explicitly disclose their plans for upcoming dividend issuances.

They can pay it to shareholders as dividends, they can retain it to reinvest in the growth of its business, or they can do both. The portion of the profit that a company chooses to pay out to its shareholders can be measured with the payout ratio. A growth investor interested in a company’s expansion prospects is more likely to look at the retention ratio, while an income investor more focused on analyzing dividends tends to use the dividend payout ratio. The dividend payout ratio shows you how much of a company’s net income is paid out via dividends.


When examining a company’s long-term trends and dividend sustainability, the dividend payout ratio is often considered a better indicator than the dividend yield. Joe reported $10,000 of net income on his income statement for the year. In specific regions like Europe, there’s often a strong emphasis on rewarding shareholders. This has resulted in a tendency among European companies to maintain higher average payout ratios.

Dividend Payout Ratio Template

New companies still in their growth phase often reinvest all or most of their earnings back into their business, whereas more mature companies often pay out a larger percentage of their earnings in the form of dividends. Besides the payout ratio and dividend criteria, we look for a company with an average return on equity (ROE) higher than 12% over the last 5 years. The ROE ratio indicates how profitable the company is relative to the equity of the stockholders. Only a profitable company will be able to sustain growing dividends for the long term.

The dividend payout formula is calculated by dividing total dividend by the net income of the company. A higher ratio might appeal to income-focused investors, but it could also indicate limited growth opportunities or potential financial strain for the company. However, it could also imply that the company has limited funds for reinvestment or growth.