Does Surge Energy Inc. (TSE:SGY) Have A Place In Your Dividend Stock Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Is Surge Energy Inc. (TSE:SGY) a good dividend stock? How would you know? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

In this case, Surge Energy likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 7.5% dividend yield and six-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Surge Energy for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

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TSX:SGY Historical Dividend Yield, May 15th 2019

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Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. So we need to be form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. While Surge Energy pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. When a company recently reported a loss, we should investigate if its cash flows covered the dividend.

With a loss in the last year, it becomes even more important to evaluate if the company is generating enough cash flow to pay its dividend and meet its obligations. Unfortunately, while Surge Energy pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it's not ideal from a dividend perspective.


Consider getting our latest analysis on Surge Energy's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Surge Energy has been paying a dividend for the past six years. The dividend has been quite stable over the past six years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past six-year period, the first annual payment was CA$0.40 in 2013, compared to CA$0.10 last year. This works out to a decline of approximately 75% over that time.


Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Earnings have grown at around 8.9% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.

We'd also point out that Surge Energy issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental - it's hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. We're a bit uncomfortable with Surge Energy paying out a high percentage of both its cashflow and earnings. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. In summary, Surge Energy has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 5 analysts we track are forecasting for Surge Energy for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.