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Do These 3 Checks Before Buying Enerflex Ltd. (TSE:EFX) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Enerflex Ltd. (TSE:EFX) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Therefore, if you purchase Enerflex's shares on or after the 23rd of November, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 12th of January.

The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.025 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$0.10 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Enerflex has a trailing yield of 1.3% on the current share price of CA$7.82. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for Enerflex

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Enerflex reported a loss after tax last year, which means it's paying a dividend despite being unprofitable. While this might be a one-off event, this is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. With the recent loss, it's important to check if the business generated enough cash to pay its dividend. If cash earnings don't cover the dividend, the company would have to pay dividends out of cash in the bank, or by borrowing money, neither of which is long-term sustainable. Luckily it paid out just 8.9% of its free cash flow last year.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Enerflex reported a loss last year, and the general trend suggests its earnings have also been declining in recent years, making us wonder if the dividend is at risk.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Enerflex's dividend payments per share have declined at 8.4% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. It's never nice to see earnings and dividends falling, but at least management has cut the dividend rather than potentially risk the company's health in an attempt to maintain it.

We update our analysis on Enerflex every 24 hours, so you can always get the latest insights on its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Is Enerflex an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? First, it's not great to see the company paying a dividend despite being loss-making over the last year. On the plus side, the dividend was covered by free cash flow." It's not that we think Enerflex is a bad company, but these characteristics don't generally lead to outstanding dividend performance.

Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Enerflex. For example - Enerflex has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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