Here's How We Evaluate Skåne-möllan AB (publ)'s (STO:SKMO) Dividend

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 01, 2021
OM:SKMO
Source: Shutterstock

Is Skåne-möllan AB (publ) (STO:SKMO) 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.

A slim 2.2% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Skåne-möllan could have potential. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Skåne-möllan for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

historic-dividend
OM:SKMO Historic Dividend April 2nd 2021

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. In the last year, Skåne-möllan paid out 65% of its profit as dividends. 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.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. The company paid out 80% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is adequate, but reduces the wriggle room in the event of a downturn. It's positive to see that Skåne-möllan's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company's earnings, we do note Skåne-möllan's strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Skåne-möllan'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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Skåne-möllan's dividend payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was kr13.0 in 2011, compared to kr12.0 last year. The dividend has shrunk at a rate of less than 1% a year over this period.

When a company's per-share dividend falls we question if this reflects poorly on either external business conditions, or the company's capital allocation decisions. Either way, we find it hard to get excited about a company with a declining dividend.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. It's good to see Skåne-möllan has been growing its earnings per share at 22% a year over the past five years. With recent, rapid earnings per share growth and a payout ratio of 65%, this business looks like an interesting prospect if earnings are reinvested effectively.

Conclusion

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. Skåne-möllan's is paying out more than half its income as dividends, but at least the dividend is covered by both reported earnings and cashflow. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Ultimately, Skåne-möllan 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.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. For instance, we've picked out 2 warning signs for Skåne-möllan that investors should take into consideration.

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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