Should Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:NVU.UN) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Dividend paying stocks like Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:NVU.UN) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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.

So you might want to consider getting our latest analysis on Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s financial health here.

In this case, Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust likely looks attractive to investors, given its 5.6% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust!

TSX:NVU.UN Historical Dividend Yield, November 8th 2019
TSX:NVU.UN Historical Dividend Yield, November 8th 2019

Payout ratios

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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 67% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 74% of its cash flow as dividends last year, which is within a reasonable range for the average corporation. It’s encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don’t drop precipitously.

Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust is a REIT, which is an investment structure that often has different payout rules compared to other companies. It is not uncommon for REITs to pay out 100% of their earnings each year.

Is Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust has net debt of 10.92 times its EBITDA, which we think carries substantial risk if earnings aren’t sustainable.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. Interest cover of 2.24 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well. Low interest cover and high debt can create problems right when the investor least needs them, and we’re reluctant to rely on the dividend of companies with these traits. That said, Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust is in the real estate business, which is typically able to sustain much higher levels of debt, relative to other industries.

Dividend Volatility

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was CA$1.48 in 2009, compared to CA$1.63 last year. Its dividends have grown at less than 1% per annum over this time frame.

Dividends have grown relatively slowly, which is not great, but some investors may value the relative consistency of the dividend.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust has grown its earnings per share at 13% per annum over the past five years. Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s earnings per share have grown rapidly in recent years, although more than half of its profits are being paid out as dividends, which makes us wonder if the company has a limited number of reinvestment opportunities in its business.

We’d also point out that Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Trying to grow the dividend when issuing new shares reminds us of the ancient Greek tale of Sisyphus – perpetually pushing a boulder uphill. Companies that consistently issue new shares are often suboptimal from a dividend perspective.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust’s is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered by both reported earnings and cashflow. Next, growing earnings per share and steady dividend payments is a great combination. Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust has a number of positive attributes, but it falls slightly short of our (admittedly high) standards. Were there evidence of a strong moat or an attractive valuation, it could still be well worth a look.

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 Northview Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield 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 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.