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Should You Buy Enerflex Ltd. (TSE:EFX) For Its Upcoming Dividend In 4 Days?

Simply Wall St

Enerflex Ltd. (TSE:EFX) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You will need to purchase shares before the 21st of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 3rd of October.

Enerflex's next dividend payment will be CA$0.10 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of CA$0.42 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that Enerflex has a trailing yield of 3.3% on the current share price of CA$12.86. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's 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 paid out a comfortable 29% of its profit last year. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It paid out 93% of its free cash flow in the form of dividends last year, which is outside the comfort zone for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings - expenses don't pay themselves - so it's not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.

Enerflex paid out less in dividends than it reported in profits, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough cash to cover the dividend. Cash is king, as they say, and were Enerflex to repeatedly pay dividends that aren't well covered by cashflow, we would consider this a warning sign.

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

TSX:EFX Historical Dividend Yield, August 16th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. For this reason, we're glad to see Enerflex's earnings per share have risen 14% per annum over the last five years. Earnings have been growing at a decent rate, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Enerflex has delivered an average of 7.2% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 8 years of dividend payments. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

To Sum It Up

Has Enerflex got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We like that Enerflex has been successfully growing its earnings per share at a nice rate and reinvesting most of its profits in the business. However, we note the high cashflow payout ratio with some concern. In summary, while it has some positive characteristics, we're not inclined to race out and buy Enerflex today.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Enerflex? See what the nine analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.