Should You Buy SpareBank 1 Østlandet (OB:SPOL) For Its Dividend?

Could SpareBank 1 Østlandet (OB:SPOL) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it’s important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you’ll find our analysis useful.

SpareBank 1 Østlandet yields a solid 6.4%, although it has only been paying for three years. A high yield probably looks enticing, but investors are likely wondering about the short payment history. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

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OB:SPOL Historic Dividend August 26th 2020

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. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. SpareBank 1 Østlandet paid out 68% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of SpareBank 1 Østlandet’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we’d like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was kr4.0 in 2017, compared to kr5.7 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 13% a year over that time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend’s purchasing power over the long term. Earnings have grown at around 6.5% a year for the past three years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share are growing at an acceptable rate, although the company is paying out more than half of its profits, which we think could constrain its ability to reinvest in its business.

We’d also point out that SpareBank 1 Østlandet 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

To summarise, shareholders should always check that SpareBank 1 Østlandet’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. SpareBank 1 Østlandet’s payout ratio is within normal bounds. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we’d like. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than SpareBank 1 Østlandet out there.

Companies possessing a stable dividend policy will likely enjoy greater investor interest than those suffering from a more inconsistent approach. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Just as an example, we’ve come accross 2 warning signs for SpareBank 1 Østlandet you should be aware of, and 1 of them is a bit concerning.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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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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