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Should You Buy Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust Plc (LON:SERE) For Its Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Is Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust Plc (LON:SERE) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust yields a solid 6.3%, although it has only been paying for three years. A high yield probably looks enticing, but investors are likely wondering about the short payment history. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust!

LSE:SERE Historical Dividend Yield, August 30th 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. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 65% of its profit as dividends. 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.

We also measure dividends paid against a company's levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 65% of its free cash flow last year, which is acceptable, but is starting to limit the amount of earnings that can be reinvested into the business. It's positive to see that Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust is a REIT, which is an investment structure that often has different payout rules compared to other companies. It is not uncommon for REITs to pay out 100% of their earnings each year.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. 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 €0.032 in 2016, compared to €0.074 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 32% per year over this 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

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. Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust's earnings per share have fallen -67% over the past year. This is a pretty serious concern, and it would be worth investigating whether something fundamental in the business has changed - or broken. We do note though, one year is too short a time to be drawing strong conclusions about a company's future prospects.

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. First, we think Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust is paying out an acceptable percentage of its cashflow and profit. Unfortunately, there hasn't been any earnings growth, and the company's dividend history has been too short for us to evaluate the consistency of the dividend. In summary, Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust has a number of shortcomings that we'd find it hard to get past. Things could change, but we think there are likely more attractive alternatives out there.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust stock.

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.