Is It Worth Considering Sylogist Ltd. (TSE:SYZ) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
August 25, 2021
TSX:SYZ
Source: Shutterstock

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Sylogist Ltd. (TSE:SYZ) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Sylogist's shares before the 30th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 8th of September.

The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.13 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$0.50 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Sylogist stock has a trailing yield of around 4.4% on the current share price of CA$11.28. 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.

View our latest analysis for Sylogist

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. Last year, Sylogist paid out 225% of its profit to shareholders in the form of dividends. This is not sustainable behaviour and requires a closer look on behalf of the purchaser. 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. The company paid out 95% of its free cash flow over the last year, which we think is outside the ideal range for most businesses. Cash flows are usually much more volatile than earnings, so this could be a temporary effect - but we'd generally want look more closely here.

Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Sylogist's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividend
TSX:SYZ Historic Dividend August 26th 2021

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. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, Sylogist's earnings per share have been growing at 17% a year for the past five years. It's not encouraging to see Sylogist paying out basically all of its earnings and cashflow to shareholders. We're glad that earnings are growing rapidly, but we're wary of the company stretching itself financially.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Sylogist has increased its dividend at approximately 20% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

To Sum It Up

Is Sylogist worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing, despite the company paying out a concerningly high percentage of its earnings and cashflow. We struggle to see how a company paying out so much of its earnings and cash flow will be able to sustain its dividend in a downturn, or reinvest enough into its business to continue growing earnings without borrowing heavily. Bottom line: Sylogist has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Although, if you're still interested in Sylogist and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. For example, Sylogist has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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