Today we’ll take a closer look at Leasinvest Real Estate SCA (EBR:LEAS) from a dividend investor’s perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.
Leasinvest Real Estate yields a solid 5.0%, although it has only been paying for two years. It’s certainly an attractive yield, but readers are likely curious about its staying power. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.
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Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. In the last year, Leasinvest Real Estate paid out 67% of its profit as dividends. This is a fairly normal payout ratio among most businesses. It allows a higher dividend to be paid to shareholders, but does limit the capital retained in the business – which could be good or bad.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Leasinvest Real Estate paid out 69% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation.
REITs like Leasinvest Real Estate often have different rules governing their distributions, so a higher payout ratio on its own is not unusual.
Is Leasinvest Real Estate’s Balance Sheet Risky?
As Leasinvest Real Estate has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick way to check a company’s financial situation uses these two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company’s total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments on debt. Essentially we check that a) a company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With a net debt to EBITDA ratio of more than 10x, Leasinvest Real Estate is very highly levered. While this debt might be serviceable, we would still say it carries substantial risk for the investor who hopes to live on the dividend.
We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Leasinvest Real Estate has interest cover of more than 12 times its interest expense, which we think is quite strong. Despite a decent level of interest cover, we think that shareholders should remain cautious of the high level of net debt. Rising rates or tighter debt markets have a nasty habit of making fools of highly-indebted dividend stocks.
We update our data on Leasinvest Real Estate every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. 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 two-year period, the first annual payment was €4.90 in 2017, compared to €5.10 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 2.0% a year over that time.
Modest dividend growth is good to see, especially with the payments being relatively stable. However, the payment history is relatively short and we wouldn’t want to rely on this dividend too much.
Dividend Growth Potential
The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient’s purchasing power. Earnings have grown at around 6.2% a year for the past five 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 Leasinvest Real Estate 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.
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. First, we think Leasinvest Real Estate is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we’d like. Ultimately, Leasinvest Real Estate comes up short on our dividend analysis. It’s not that we think it is a bad company – just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.
Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Leasinvest Real Estate management tenure, salary, and performance.
If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 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 email@example.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.