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What To Know Before Buying Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:MRT.UN) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

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Dividend paying stocks like Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:MRT.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. 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 Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust yielding 7.8% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust for its dividend - read on to learn more.

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

TSX:MRT.UN Historical Dividend Yield, June 19th 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 61% 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 71% of its free cash flow, which is not bad per se, but does start to limit the amount of cash Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust has available to meet other needs. It's positive to see that Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust'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.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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 Morguard 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$0.90 in 2009, compared to CA$0.96 last year. Dividend payments have grown at less than 1% a year over this period.

Slow and steady dividend growth might not sound that exciting, but dividends have been stable for ten years, which we think is seriously impressive.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Over the past five years, it looks as though Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust's EPS have declined at around 19% a year. Declining earnings per share over a number of years is not a great sign for the dividend investor. Without some improvement, this does not bode well for the long term value of a company's dividend.

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. Morguard 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. Moreover, earnings have been shrinking. While the dividends have been fairly steady, we'd wonder for how much longer this will be sustainable if earnings continue to decline. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust from a dividend perspective. It's not that we think it's a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.