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Zooming in on HEL:MARAS's 3.5% Dividend Yield

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Martela Oyj (HEL:MARAS) 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 a nine-year payment history and a 3.5% yield, many investors probably find Martela Oyj intriguing. It sure looks interesting on these metrics - but there's always more to the story . Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Martela Oyj for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Martela Oyj!

HLSE:MARAS Historical Dividend Yield, May 26th 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. 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. Although it reported a loss over the past 12 months, Martela Oyj currently pays a dividend. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.

Martela Oyj paid out 15% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable.

We update our data on Martela Oyj every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Martela Oyj paid its first dividend at least nine years ago. Although it has been paying a dividend for several years now, the dividend has been cut at least once by more than 20%, and we're cautious about the consistency of its dividend across a full economic cycle. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was €0.45 in 2010, compared to €0.10 last year. Dividend payments have fallen sharply, down 78% over that time.


Dividend Growth Potential

Given that dividend payments have been shrinking like a glacier in a warming world, we need to check if there are some bright spots on the horizon. It's not great to see that Martela Oyj's have fallen at approximately 6.7% over the past five years. If earnings continue to decline, the dividend may come under pressure. Every investor should make an assessment of whether the company is taking steps to stabilise the situation.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Martela Oyj's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're a bit uncomfortable with the company paying a dividend while being loss-making, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. From a dividend perspective, this is a cause for concern. With this information in mind, we think Martela Oyj may not be an ideal dividend stock.

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

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.