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Why You Should Leave Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (NYSE:TNP)'s Upcoming Dividend On The Shelf

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (NYSE:TNP) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 11th of December will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 18th of December.

Tsakos Energy Navigation's next dividend payment will be US$0.05 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.10 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that Tsakos Energy Navigation has a trailing yield of 2.7% on the current share price of $3.71. 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.

View our latest analysis for Tsakos Energy Navigation

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Tsakos Energy Navigation reported a loss last year, so it's not great to see that it has continued paying a dividend. 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. Dividends consumed 55% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

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

NYSE:TNP Historical Dividend Yield, December 7th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Tsakos Energy Navigation was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last five years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Tsakos Energy Navigation's dividend payments per share have declined at 25% per year on average over the past ten years, which is uninspiring. It's never nice to see earnings and dividends falling, but at least management has cut the dividend rather than potentially risk the company's health in an attempt to maintain it.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Tsakos Energy Navigation's financial health, by checking our visualisation of its financial health, here.

To Sum It Up

Is Tsakos Energy Navigation 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. On the plus side, the dividend was covered by free cash flow." Bottom line: Tsakos Energy Navigation has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Wondering what the future holds for Tsakos Energy Navigation? See what the two 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.