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Is St. Galler Kantonalbank AG (VTX:SGKN) A Great Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll take a closer look at St. Galler Kantonalbank AG (VTX:SGKN) 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. 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, St. Galler Kantonalbank likely looks attractive to dividend investors, given its 3.7% dividend yield and nine-year payment history. We'd agree the yield does look enticing. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

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SWX:SGKN Historical Dividend Yield, May 17th 2019

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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. Looking at the data, we can see that 56% of St. Galler Kantonalbank's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a healthy payout ratio, and while it does limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested in the business, there is also some room to lift the payout ratio over time.


Remember, you can always get a snapshot of St. Galler Kantonalbank'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. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that St. Galler Kantonalbank paid its first dividend at least nine years ago. The dividend has been quite stable over the past nine years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was CHF20.00 in 2010, compared to CHF16.00 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around -2.4% a year during that period.


Dividend Growth Potential

Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it's also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. St. Galler Kantonalbank has grown its earnings per share at 7.8% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share are growing at an acceptable rate, although the company is paying out more than half of its profits, which we think could constrain its ability to reinvest in its business.

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. St. Galler Kantonalbank's payout ratio is within normal bounds. Second, earnings growth has been ordinary, and its history of dividend payments is shorter than we'd like. With this information in mind, we think St. Galler Kantonalbank may not be an ideal dividend stock.

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

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.