Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Genie Energy Ltd. (NYSE:GNE) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Thus, you can purchase Genie Energy's shares before the 17th of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 26th of August.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.075 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.30 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Genie Energy has a trailing yield of 2.9% on the current share price of $10.19. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. 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. Genie Energy has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 8.5% of its income after tax. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Genie Energy generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Luckily it paid out just 5.4% of its free cash flow last year.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. It's encouraging to see Genie Energy has grown its earnings rapidly, up 58% a year for the past five years. Genie Energy looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Genie Energy has delivered 4.1% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. 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.
Has Genie Energy got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's great that Genie Energy is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
So while Genie Energy looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example - Genie Energy has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
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