Is Sandnes Sparebank (OB:SADG) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.
In this case, Sandnesrebank likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 8.4% dividend yield and eight-year payment history. We’d agree the yield does look enticing. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Sandnesrebank for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Sandnesrebank paid out 70% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. 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.
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 first recorded dividend for Sandnesrebank, in the last decade, was eight years ago. Although it has been paying a dividend for several years now, the dividend has been cut at least once by more than 20%, and we’re cautious about the consistency of its dividend across a full economic cycle. During the past eight-year period, the first annual payment was kr2.50 in 2011, compared to kr5.20 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 9.6% per year over this time. Sandnesrebank’s dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn’t grown 9.6% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.
A reasonable rate of dividend growth is good to see, but we’re wary that the dividend history is not as solid as we’d like, having been cut at least once.
Dividend Growth Potential
With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? Sandnesrebank’s earnings per share have shrunk at 11% a year over the past five years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Sandnesrebank’s earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.
When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Sandnesrebank’s payout ratio is within an average range for most market participants. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and its dividend has been cut at least once in the past. To conclude, we’ve spotted a couple of potential concerns with Sandnesrebank that may make it less than ideal candidate for dividend investors.
Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Sandnesrebank in our latest insider ownership analysis.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
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