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Read This Before Buying MaxFastigheter i Sverige AB (publ) (STO:MAXF) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like MaxFastigheter i Sverige AB (publ) (STO:MAXF) 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.

In this case, MaxFastigheter i Sverige pays a decent-sized 4.5% dividend yield, and has been distributing cash to shareholders for the past three years. A 4.5% yield does look good. Could the short payment history hint at future dividend growth? Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying MaxFastigheter i Sverige for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on MaxFastigheter i Sverige!

OM:MAXF Historical Dividend Yield, October 26th 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. 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. MaxFastigheter i Sverige paid out 33% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Of the free cash flow it generated last year, MaxFastigheter i Sverige paid out 41% as dividends, suggesting the dividend is affordable. It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

Is MaxFastigheter i Sverige's Balance Sheet Risky?

As MaxFastigheter i Sverige has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA is a measure of a company's total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 16.36 times, MaxFastigheter i Sverige is very highly levered. While this debt might be serviceable, we would still say it carries substantial risk for the investor who hopes to live on the dividend.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company's net interest expense. Interest cover of 2.65 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for MaxFastigheter i Sverige, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well. Low interest cover and high debt can create problems right when the investor least needs them, and we're reluctant to rely on the dividend of companies with these traits.

We update our data on MaxFastigheter i Sverige 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. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we'd like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. During the past three-year period, the first annual payment was kr0.64 in 2016, compared to kr1.43 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 31% per year over this time.

The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. It's not great to see that MaxFastigheter i Sverige's have fallen at approximately 7.2% over the past five years. 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.

We'd also point out that MaxFastigheter i Sverige issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental - it's hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that MaxFastigheter i Sverige'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 MaxFastigheter i Sverige has low and conservative payout ratios. Earnings per share are down, and to our mind MaxFastigheter i Sverige has not been paying a dividend long enough to demonstrate its resilience across economic cycles. While we're not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than MaxFastigheter i Sverige out there.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in MaxFastigheter i Sverige 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.