Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ:CWCO) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. Investors can purchase shares before the 30th of September in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of October.
Consolidated Water's next dividend payment will be US$0.085 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.34 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Consolidated Water stock has a trailing yield of around 3.2% on the current share price of $10.78. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's 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. Last year Consolidated Water paid out 97% of its profits as dividends to shareholders, suggesting the dividend is not well covered by earnings. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Consolidated Water generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Dividends consumed 64% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.
It's good to see that while Consolidated Water's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if this were to happen repeatedly, we'd be concerned about whether the dividend is sustainable in a downturn.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That's why it's not ideal to see Consolidated Water's earnings per share have been shrinking at 3.9% a year over the previous five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Consolidated Water has lifted its dividend by approximately 1.3% a year on average.
Is Consolidated Water an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's never fun to see a company's earnings per share in retreat. Additionally, Consolidated Water is paying out quite a high percentage of its earnings, and more than half its cash flow, so it's hard to evaluate whether the company is reinvesting enough in its business to improve its situation. It's not the most attractive proposition from a dividend perspective, and we'd probably give this one a miss for now.
With that being said, if you're still considering Consolidated Water as an investment, you'll find it beneficial to know what risks this stock is facing. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Consolidated Water you should be aware of.
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.
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. 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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