Why SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus (OB:SOAG) Should Be In Your Dividend Portfolio

Dividend paying stocks like SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus (OB:SOAG) 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. 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.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus. 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 SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus!

OB:SOAG Historical Dividend Yield, August 5th 2019
OB:SOAG Historical Dividend Yield, August 5th 2019

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. Looking at the data, we can see that 49% of SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

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. SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was kr1.60 in 2009, compared to kr14.60 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 25% per year over this time. The dividends haven’t grown at precisely 25% every year, but this is a useful way to average out the historical rate of growth.

So, its dividends have grown at a rapid rate over this time, but payments have been cut in the past. The stock may still be worth considering as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.

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? Earnings have grown at around 9.8% 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.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus has a low and conservative payout ratio. Second, earnings per share have been essentially flat, and its history of dividend payments is chequered – having cut its dividend at least once in the past. SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus has a credible record on several fronts, but falls slightly short of our standards for a dividend stock.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in SpareBank 1 Østfold Akershus 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%.

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.