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We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy Tecsys Inc. (TSE:TCS) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend

It looks like Tecsys Inc. (TSE:TCS) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the 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. In other words, investors can purchase Tecsys' shares before the 14th of December in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 6th of January.

The company's upcoming dividend is CA$0.075 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of CA$0.30 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Tecsys stock has a trailing yield of around 1.1% on the current share price of CA$27.1. 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! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for Tecsys

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. Last year Tecsys paid out 95% of its profits as dividends to shareholders, suggesting the dividend is not well covered by earnings. 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 distributed 38% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

It's good to see that while Tecsys's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.

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

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Tecsys's 9.6% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

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, 10 years ago, Tecsys has lifted its dividend by approximately 17% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. Tecsys is already paying out 95% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Tecsys for the upcoming dividend? It's not a great combination to see a company with earnings in decline and paying out 95% of its profits, which could imply the dividend may be at risk of being cut in the future. However, the cash payout ratio was much lower - good news from a dividend perspective - which makes us wonder why there is such a mis-match between income and cashflow. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of Tecsys.

Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Tecsys. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for Tecsys and you should be aware of it before buying any shares.

A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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