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Don't Race Out To Buy Propel Funeral Partners Limited (ASX:PFP) Just Because It's Going Ex-Dividend

·4 min read

Propel Funeral Partners Limited (ASX:PFP) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Propel Funeral Partners' shares before the 31st of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 4th of October.

The company's next dividend payment will be AU$0.065 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed AU$0.12 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Propel Funeral Partners has a trailing yield of 2.5% on the current share price of A$4.85. 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! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for Propel Funeral Partners

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. Propel Funeral Partners's dividend is not well covered by earnings, as the company lost money last year. This is not a sustainable state of affairs, so it would be worth investigating if earnings are expected to recover. 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. Propel Funeral Partners paid out more free cash flow than it generated - 112%, to be precise - last year, which we think is concerningly high. It's hard to consistently pay out more cash than you generate without either borrowing or using company cash, so we'd wonder how the company justifies this payout level.

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?

Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Propel Funeral Partners was unprofitable last year, but at least the general trend suggests its earnings have been improving over the past five years. Even so, an unprofitable company whose business does not quickly recover is usually not a good candidate for dividend investors.

We'd also point out that Propel Funeral Partners issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. It's hard to grow dividends per share when a company keeps creating new shares.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Propel Funeral Partners has delivered 18% dividend growth per year on average over the past four years. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Propel Funeral Partners's financial health, by checking our visualisation of its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Is Propel Funeral Partners 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. Second, the dividend was not well covered by cash flow." It's not the most attractive proposition from a dividend perspective, and we'd probably give this one a miss for now.

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 Propel Funeral Partners. For example - Propel Funeral Partners has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.

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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