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Is Aker ASA (OB:AKER) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

Simply Wall St

Could Aker ASA (OB:AKER) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With Aker yielding 4.6% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. The company also returned around 2.5% of its market capitalisation to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks over the past year. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Aker for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Aker!

OB:AKER Historical Dividend Yield, November 2nd 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. While Aker pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. When a loss-making financial company pays a dividend, the dividend is not being paid out of profit, which is a concern if the company can't return to operating profitably.

We update our data on Aker every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Aker's dividend payments. The dividend has been cut by more than 20% on at least one occasion historically. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was kr5.00 in 2009, compared to kr22.50 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 16% per year over this time. Aker's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 16% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical 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

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Aker has grown its earnings per share at 32% per annum over the past five years.

Conclusion

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. We're a bit uncomfortable with it paying a dividend while reporting a loss over the past year. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Aker might not be a bad business, but it doesn't show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Aker management tenure, salary, and performance.

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.