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Here's Why We're Wary Of Buying Genesis Energy Limited's (NZSE:GNE) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Genesis Energy Limited (NZSE:GNE) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days time. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 16th of October will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of October.

Genesis Energy's next dividend payment will be NZ$0.1 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of NZ$0.2 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Genesis Energy has a trailing yield of 4.8% on the current share price of NZ$3.52. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to investigate whether Genesis Energy can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for Genesis Energy

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. Last year, Genesis Energy paid out 292% of its profit to shareholders in the form of dividends. This is not sustainable behaviour and requires a closer look on behalf of the purchaser. 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. Over the last year it paid out 63% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

It's disappointing to see that the dividend was not covered by profits, but cash is more important from a dividend sustainability perspective, and Genesis Energy fortunately did generate enough cash to fund its dividend. Still, if the company repeatedly paid a dividend greater than its profits, we'd be concerned. Very few companies are able to sustainably pay dividends larger than their reported earnings.

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

NZSE:GNE Historical Dividend Yield, October 12th 2019

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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. This is why it's a relief to see Genesis Energy earnings per share are up 3.5% per annum over the last five years.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Genesis Energy has delivered an average of 5.3% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past five 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.

The Bottom Line

Is Genesis Energy worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have not grown all that much, and the company is paying out an uncomfortably high percentage of its income. Fortunately it paid out a lower percentage of its cash flow. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Genesis Energy? See what the seven 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.