It looks like Ebix, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIX) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 3rd of September to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of September.
Ebix’s upcoming dividend is US$0.075 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.30 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year’s worth of payments shows that Ebix has a trailing yield of 0.9% on the current share price of $34.52. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Ebix’s dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Ebix is paying out just 5.0% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. It paid out 13% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
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?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, Ebix’s earnings per share have been growing at 14% a year for the past five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination – plus the dividend can always be increased later.
The main way most investors will assess a company’s dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, eight years ago, Ebix has lifted its dividend by approximately 8.2% a year on average. It’s encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.
Should investors buy Ebix for the upcoming dividend? It’s great that Ebix 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. Ebix looks solid on this analysis overall, and we’d definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Wondering what the future holds for Ebix? See what the four 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.