Evolution Petroleum Corporation (NYSEMKT:EPM) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of September will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of September.
Evolution Petroleum's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.40 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Evolution Petroleum stock has a trailing yield of around 6.7% on the current share price of $5.93. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Its dividend payout ratio is 80% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth We'd be worried about the risk of a drop in earnings. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Evolution Petroleum generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 83% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company's ability to lift the dividend if there's no growth.
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.
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. For this reason, we're glad to see Evolution Petroleum's earnings per share have risen 19% per annum over the last five years. It paid out more than three-quarters of its earnings in the last year, even though earnings per share are growing rapidly. We're surprised that management has not elected to reinvest more in the business to accelerate growth further.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. It looks like the Evolution Petroleum dividends are largely the same as they were six years ago.
Is Evolution Petroleum worth buying for its dividend? Higher earnings per share generally lead to higher dividends from dividend-paying stocks over the long run. However, we'd also note that Evolution Petroleum is paying out more than half of its earnings and cash flow as profits, which could limit the dividend growth if earnings growth slows. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.
Wondering what the future holds for Evolution Petroleum? See what the three analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting 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.