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Should You Buy Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE:STNG) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE:STNG) is about to go ex-dividend in just three days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 20th of November, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 14th of December.

Scorpio Tankers's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.40 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Scorpio Tankers stock has a trailing yield of around 3.8% on the current share price of $10.55. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Scorpio Tankers

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Scorpio Tankers paid out just 12% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 5.0% of its cash flow last year.

It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

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

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That explains why we're not overly excited about Scorpio Tankers's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share. Scorpio Tankers is retaining more than three-quarters of its earnings and has a history of generating some growth in earnings. We think this is a reasonable combination.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Scorpio Tankers has seen its dividend decline 36% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see.

To Sum It Up

Is Scorpio Tankers an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share have been flat over this time, but we're intrigued to see that Scorpio Tankers is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends. This is interesting for a few reasons, as it suggests management may be reinvesting heavily in the business, but it also provides room to increase the dividend in time. We would prefer to see earnings growing faster, but the best dividend stocks over the long term typically combine strong earnings per share growth with a low payout ratio, and Scorpio Tankers is halfway there. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Be aware that Scorpio Tankers is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 2 of those don't sit too well with us...

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.

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. 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.

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