With over 120 consecutive years of payments under its belt, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) is one of the sturdiest dividend payers you can find. However, as earnings growth has slowed in recent years, the company's payout ratio has surged higher -- approaching two-thirds of P&G's earnings. Is it time for investors to worry about the growth prospects for this century-old dividend?
In the video below, Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos says it isn't, arguing that P&G's dividend is very safe -- for at least two reasons. First, the company's earnings have been depressed lately by foreign currency issues. If you strip those out, you get a much more comfortable picture of earnings growth as compared to the dividend. For example, last quarter's 5% profit jump was closer to 17% after accounting for currency translations, easily above the 7% dividend boost that P&G declared for the year.
Second, Demitrios highlights Procter & Gamble's ability to generate mounds of cash. At $7 billion over the last nine months, the company's free cash flow amply covered the $5 billion that was paid out in dividends over the same period. That's why P&G's payout has plenty of room to continue growing in the years ahead despite stubbornly slow profit gains.
Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.