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What is Dividend Per Share?

Understanding Dividend Per Share (DPS): Definition and Formula

Dividend per share (DPS) is a crucial metric used by investors to assess the income generated by their investments in a particular company. It represents the sum of declared dividends issued by the company for every outstanding ordinary share. DPS provides insight into the amount of income generated for each share of stock held by investors. In this article, we will delve into the concept of DPS, its calculation, and its significance for investors.

Definition of Dividend Per Share (DPS)

Dividend per share (DPS) is calculated by dividing the total dividends paid out by a company, including interim dividends, over a specific period (typically a year) by the number of outstanding ordinary shares issued. The DPS figure represents the amount of dividend income earned by shareholders for each share they hold.

Importance of Dividend Per Share (DPS)

DPS holds significance for investors for several reasons:

  1. Income Generation: DPS directly translates into income for shareholders. It helps investors evaluate the cash flow they can expect to receive from their investment in the form of dividends. For income-focused investors, a higher DPS indicates a greater potential for generating regular income.

  2. Dividend Growth: The growth rate of DPS over time can be indicative of a company's commitment to distributing profits to shareholders. A consistent increase in DPS suggests that the company's management believes in the sustainability of its earnings growth and is willing to reward shareholders accordingly.

  3. Comparison with Dividend Yield: Dividend yield is calculated by dividing the DPS by the stock price. It represents the percentage return on investment in the form of dividends. By comparing the DPS to the dividend yield, investors can assess whether a stock's dividend payout is attractive relative to its market value.

Considerations and Limitations

When analyzing DPS, it's important to keep a few considerations in mind:

  1. Special Dividends: In certain cases, a company may declare irregular "special dividends." These one-time dividend payments are not part of the regular dividend distribution. When calculating DPS, it is advisable to exclude special dividends if they do not occur annually.

  2. Dividend Policy: Companies have different dividend policies, which dictate how much of their earnings they distribute to shareholders. Some companies may have a higher DPS, indicating a larger proportion of earnings returned to investors, while others may reinvest a significant portion of their earnings into the business, resulting in a lower DPS.

  3. Dividend Stability: Investors should also consider the stability and consistency of a company's dividend payments over time. A stable DPS indicates that the company has a reliable track record of consistently distributing dividends, which can be reassuring for income-seeking investors.

Dividend per share (DPS) provides investors with valuable insights into the income generated by their investment in a particular company. By calculating DPS, investors can evaluate the cash flow generated per share and assess the sustainability and growth potential of dividend payments. DPS, along with other dividend-related metrics such as dividend yield, helps investors make informed decisions regarding their investment portfolios. However, it is essential to consider the overall financial health, dividend policy, and stability of the company before making investment decisions based solely on DPS.


Dividend payments are allocated on a per-share basis. The company issuing them may announce the dividend in terms of the dollar value, but investors and analytical services will translate that into a percentage yield.

When calculating the dividend from a company perspective, the total dividend amount that they are comfortable declaring is divided by the number of outstanding shares. The dividend per share is an important number, and the growth of this number is the dividend growth rate.

Simply put, the dividend per share is the total amount of the current year’s dividend distribution divided by the number of outstanding shares. Not all investors are looking for dividends, but when you consider automatically reinvested dividends (sometimes called a DRIP), and you compound them with the appreciation of the stock, many dividend stocks will look pretty good.

Of course, you have the downside of taxation on dividend distributions if you aren’t holding the stock in a tax-deferred account. Investors might use dividends as another metric by which to evaluate their prospective holdings, and there are a few types of commonly-used calculations for dividends that can help investors get a clearer picture.

Companies use dividends partially as a sign to the market that they have healthy earnings. Even companies that are struggling will sometimes seek to maintain their dividend per share, because if investors are given the warning that a dividend is shrinking, they may start to take a closer look at the company or just bail out in favor of a stock with a better-looking dividend.

High dividends can help a stock maintain and appreciate in value, which gives the company that issued it increased value to use in employee stock options, mergers and acquisitions, and so on.

If a company declares irregular “special dividends,” it is normally appropriate to disregard this amount from the dividends per share calculation if it does not occur annually.

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Disclaimers and Limitations

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