Should Income Investors Look At Energía de Casablanca S.A. (SNSE:CASABLANCA) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St
May 18, 2022
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It looks like Energía de Casablanca S.A. (SNSE:CASABLANCA) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 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. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Thus, you can purchase Energía de Casablanca's shares before the 23rd of May in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 27th of May.

The company's upcoming dividend is CL$98.00 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CL$98.00 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Energía de Casablanca has a trailing yield of approximately 9.3% on its current stock price of CLP1050.5. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Energía de Casablanca

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. Fortunately Energía de Casablanca's payout ratio is modest, at just 30% of profit. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Energía de Casablanca generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 99% of its free cash flow in the form of dividends last year, which is outside the comfort zone for most businesses. Cash flows are usually much more volatile than earnings, so this could be a temporary effect - but we'd generally want to look more closely here.

Energía de Casablanca paid out less in dividends than it reported in profits, but unfortunately it didn't generate enough cash to cover the dividend. Were this to happen repeatedly, this would be a risk to Energía de Casablanca's ability to maintain its dividend.

Click here to see how much of its profit Energía de Casablanca paid out over the last 12 months.

SNSE:CASABLANCA Historic Dividend May 18th 2022

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. Fortunately for readers, Energía de Casablanca's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years. Earnings have been growing at a decent rate, but we're concerned dividend payments consumed most of the company's cash flow over the past year.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Energía de Casablanca has seen its dividend decline 3.4% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. It's unusual to see earnings per share increasing at the same time as dividends per share have been in decline. We'd hope it's because the company is reinvesting heavily in its business, but it could also suggest business is lumpy.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Energía de Casablanca for the upcoming dividend? We're glad to see the company has been improving its earnings per share while also paying out a low percentage of income. However, it's not great to see it paying out what we see as an uncomfortably high percentage of its cash flow. In summary, it's hard to get excited about Energía de Casablanca from a dividend perspective.

So while Energía de Casablanca looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example, we've found 2 warning signs for Energía de Casablanca (1 is potentially serious!) that deserve your attention before investing in the shares.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

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