Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSE:CVE) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 12th of March will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of March.
Cenovus Energy’s next dividend payment will be CA$0.063 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of CA$0.25 to shareholders. Last year’s total dividend payments show that Cenovus Energy has a trailing yield of 3.2% on the current share price of CA$7.9. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Cenovus Energy paid out just 12% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. It paid out 12% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It’s positive to see that Cenovus Energy’s dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Cenovus Energy’s earnings per share have been growing at 13% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Cenovus Energy’s dividend payments per share have declined at 11% per year on average over the past ten years, which is uninspiring. Cenovus Energy is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It’s unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.
Should investors buy Cenovus Energy for the upcoming dividend? Cenovus Energy has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it’s cut the dividend at least once in the past ten years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. It’s a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we’ve spotted with Cenovus Energy (including 1 which shouldn’t be ignored).
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising 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 email@example.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.
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