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Shareholders Are Loving Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap ASA's (OB:OLT) 2.6% Yield

Simply Wall St

Is Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap ASA (OB:OLT) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. 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.

A slim 2.6% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap could have potential. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 1.9% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap!

OB:OLT Historical Dividend Yield, January 16th 2020

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, Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap paid out 25% of its profit as dividends. We'd say its dividends are thoroughly covered by earnings.

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, Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap paid out 31% 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 Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap's Balance Sheet Risky?

As Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap 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. Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap has net debt of 9.06 times its EBITDA, which implies meaningful risk if interest rates rise of earnings decline.

We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company's net interest expense. With EBIT of 2.62 times its interest expense, Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap's interest cover is starting to look a bit thin. 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 Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

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. Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was kr0.80 in 2010, compared to kr4.40 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 19% a year over that time.

Dividends have been growing pretty quickly, and even more impressively, they haven't experienced any notable falls during this period.

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. Earnings have grown at around 2.1% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Growth has been hard to come by. However, at least the payout ratio is conservative, and there is plenty of potential to increase this over time.

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. Firstly, we like that Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap has low and conservative payout ratios. Earnings growth has been limited, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. All things considered, Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap looks like a strong prospect. At the right valuation, it could be something special.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap stock.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.