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Should Income Investors Look At Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADES) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADES) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 16th of August in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 6th of September.

Advanced Emissions Solutions's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.00 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Advanced Emissions Solutions has a trailing yield of approximately 8.4% on its current stock price of $11.91. 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 Advanced Emissions Solutions can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for Advanced Emissions Solutions

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Advanced Emissions Solutions paid out more than half (54%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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 company paid out 98% of its free cash flow over the last year, which we think is outside the ideal range for most businesses. Companies usually need cash more than they need earnings - expenses don't pay themselves - so it's not great to see it paying out so much of its cash flow.

While Advanced Emissions Solutions's dividends were covered by the company's reported profits, cash is somewhat more important, so it's not great to see that the company didn't generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were this to happen repeatedly, this would be a risk to Advanced Emissions Solutions's ability to maintain its dividend.

Click here to see how much of its profit Advanced Emissions Solutions paid out over the last 12 months.

NasdaqGM:ADES Historical Dividend Yield, August 11th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's encouraging to see Advanced Emissions Solutions has grown its earnings rapidly, up 43% a year for the past five years. Earnings have been growing quickly, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. It looks like the Advanced Emissions Solutions dividends are largely the same as they were two years ago.

The Bottom Line

Is Advanced Emissions Solutions an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? The best dividend stocks typically boast a long history of growing earnings per share (EPS) via a combination of earnings growth and buybacks. So, you might think that Advanced Emissions Solutions buying back stock, growing its EPS, and retaining profits within its business is a good combination. However, we note with some concern that it paid out 98% of its free cash flow last year, which is uncomfortably high and makes us wonder why the company chose to spend even more cash on buybacks. In summary, it's hard to get excited about Advanced Emissions Solutions from a dividend perspective.

Want to learn more about Advanced Emissions Solutions? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.

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.

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.