It looks like Endeavour Mining plc (TSE:EDV) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Endeavour Mining's shares before the 31st of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 26th of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.40 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.81 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Endeavour Mining has a trailing yield of 3.9% on the current share price of CA$28.4. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Endeavour Mining's dividend is not well covered by earnings, as the company lost money last year. This is not a sustainable state of affairs, so it would be worth investigating if earnings are expected to recover. 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. Over the past year it paid out 150% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is uncomfortably high. We're curious about why the company paid out more cash than it generated last year, since this can be one of the early signs that a dividend may be unsustainable.
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. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Endeavour Mining was unprofitable last year, but at least the general trend suggests its earnings have been improving over the past five years. Even so, an unprofitable company whose business does not quickly recover is usually not a good candidate for dividend investors.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last three years, Endeavour Mining has lifted its dividend by approximately 3.1% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
Is Endeavour Mining an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's hard to get used to Endeavour Mining paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. Worse, the dividend was not well covered by cash flow. Bottom line: Endeavour Mining has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.
So if you're still interested in Endeavour Mining despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for Endeavour Mining and you should be aware of it before buying any shares.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.