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We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy RXP Services Limited (ASX:RXP) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend

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 RXP Services Limited (ASX:RXP) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. 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 3rd of October.

RXP Services's next dividend payment will be AU$0.03 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of AU$0.043 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that RXP Services has a trailing yield of 7.5% on the current share price of A$0.57. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for RXP Services

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. RXP Services lost money last year, so the fact that it's paying a dividend is certainly disconcerting. There might be a good reason for this, but we'd want to look into it further before getting comfortable. Considering the lack of profitability, we also need to check if the company generated enough cash flow to cover the dividend payment. 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 73% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

Click here to see how much of its profit RXP Services paid out over the last 12 months.

ASX:RXP Historical Dividend Yield, September 7th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. RXP Services was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last 5 years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 4 years, RXP Services has lifted its dividend by approximately 36% a year on average.

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

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy RXP Services for the upcoming dividend? It's hard to get used to RXP Services paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. At least the dividend was covered by free cash flow, however. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.

Want to learn more about RXP Services's dividend performance? Check out this visualisation of its historical 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.