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Should Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI, S.A. (BME:LRE) Be Part Of Your Income Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll take a closer look at Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI, S.A. (BME:LRE) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

In this case, Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 7.0% dividend yield and four-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 0.9% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett's two rules: 1) Don't lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We'll run through some checks below to help with this.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI!

BME:LRE Historical Dividend Yield, June 13th 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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI paid out 499% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, from the perspective of an investor who hopes to own the company for many years, a payout ratio of above 100% is definitely a concern.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI paid out 497% of its free cash last year. Cash flows can be lumpy, but this dividend was not well covered by cash flow. Paying out more than 100% of your free cash flow in dividends is generally not a long-term, sustainable state of affairs, so we think shareholders should watch this metric closely. Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI's payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would definitely be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.

We update our data on Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI 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. Looking at the data, we can see that Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI has been paying a dividend for the past four years. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can't be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was €0.033 in 2015, compared to €0.49 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 96% a year over that time.

We're not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI has grown its earnings per share at 70% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very rapidly, although the company is also paying out virtually all of its profit in dividends. While EPS could grow fast enough to make the dividend sustainable, in this type of situation, we'd want to pay extra attention to any fragilities in the company's balance sheet.

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. Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI paid out almost all of its cash flow and profit as dividends, leaving little to reinvest in the business. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the company has not been paying dividends as long as we'd like. With this information in mind, we think Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI may not be an ideal dividend stock.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 7 analysts we track are forecasting for Lar España Real Estate SOCIMI for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

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.