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Equity Bancshares (EQBK) Initiates Dividend: Is It Worth Buying?

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Equity Bancshares, Inc. (EQBK - Free Report) has announced a dividend for the first time. The company’s board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share. The dividend will be paid out on Oct 14 to shareholders of record as of Sep 30.

The company’s chairman and CEO, Brad Elliott, stated, “We’re pleased to declare a dividend to our stockholders for the first time in our Company’s history. We have been evaluating this as our Company and profits have each continued to grow We appreciate the support of our stockholders and the ongoing efforts of our Equity Bank teams throughout our four-state footprint to continue to deliver expertise, innovation, and local service to our customer base.”

In addition to the dividend announcement, the company announced that its board authorized a share repurchase program to buy back up to 1 million shares, beginning Oct 29, 2021, and concluding Oct 28, 2022.

Notably, Equity Bancshares has delivered a solid performance in the first half of this year. Its revenues grew 8.1% year over year. Net income available to common shareholders at the end of the first six months of 2021 was $30.2 million, up from $2.9 million a year ago.

Thus, supported by earnings strength, the company is expected to be able to enhance shareholder value in the future through sustained share buybacks and dividends.

So far this year, shares of the company have gained 40.6%, outperforming the industry’s growth of 28.2%.

 

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

 

Currently, Equity Bancshares carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in this stock can have a look at its fundamentals and growth prospects mentioned below.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Revenues: Equity Bancshares’ revenues witnessed a six-year (2015-2020) compound annual growth rate of more than 20%. The upward trend is expected to continue in the near term. In 2021 and 2022, the company’s top line is projected to grow 7.8% and 9.3%, respectively.

Earnings: Over the past three-five years, the company’s earnings witnessed growth of 8.2%. Its projected earnings growth of 167.4% for the current year (higher than the industry average of 41.6%) ensures rewards for investors in the near term.

Equity Bancshares has an impressive earnings surprise history. Its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 43.1%.

Return on Equity (ROE): Equity Bancshares’ ROE currently stands at 11.86%, which compares slightly favorably with the industry average of 11.40%. This highlights that the company utilizes cash more efficiently than peers.

Valuation: Equity Bancshares stock seems to be trading at a discount when compared with the broader industry. It currently has a price/earnings (F1) ratio of 8.99, which is below the industry average of 10.46. Also, its price/book ratio of 1.05 compares slightly favorably with the industry’s 1.09.

Dividend Announcements by Other Banks

Last month, several finance companies announced dividend hikes.

TFS Financial Corporation’s (TFSL - Free Report) board approved a 0.9% increase in the company’s quarterly dividend to 28.25 cents per share. Spirit of Texas Bancshares, Inc. announced a 33.3% hike in dividend to 12 cents per share.

Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. (VRTS - Free Report) also increased its regular quarterly cash dividend. The company announced a dividend of $1.50 per share, representing an 83% hike from the prior payout.