It looks like Enghouse Systems Limited (TSE:ENGH) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 15th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of August.
Enghouse Systems's next dividend payment will be CA$0.11 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of CA$0.44 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Enghouse Systems has a trailing yield of 1.2% on the current share price of CA$36.36. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Enghouse Systems paying out a modest 32% of its earnings. 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. The good news is it paid out just 20% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It's positive to see that Enghouse Systems's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. That's why it's comforting to see Enghouse Systems's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 21% per annum for the past five years. Enghouse Systems is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Enghouse Systems has lifted its dividend by approximately 24% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
The Bottom Line
Is Enghouse Systems an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Enghouse Systems has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
Wondering what the future holds for Enghouse Systems? See what the five analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.