Is Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust's (TSE:MR.UN) 8.8% Dividend Worth Your Time?

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Could Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:MR.UN) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the 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 six-year payment history and a 8.8% yield, many investors probably find Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust intriguing. We’d agree the yield does look enticing. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust for its dividend – read on to learn more.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

TSX:MR.UN Historical Dividend Yield, June 12th 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. Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust paid out 34% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. 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. The company paid out 80% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is adequate, but reduces the wriggle room in the event of a downturn. It’s positive to see that Melcor 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.

We update our data on Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust 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. Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust has been paying a dividend for the past six years. Its dividend has not fluctuated much that time, which we like, but we’re conscious that the company might not yet have a track record of maintaining dividends in all economic conditions. Its most recent annual dividend was CA$0.68 per share, effectively flat on its first payment six years ago.

It’s good to see at least some dividend growth. Yet with a relatively short dividend paying history, we wouldn’t want to depend on this dividend too heavily.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. In the last five years, Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust’s earnings per share have shrunk at approximately 14% per annum. 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.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust’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 Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust pays out a low fraction of earnings. It pays out a higher percentage of its cashflow, although this is within acceptable bounds. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has a relatively short dividend history – shorter than we like, anyway. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust out there.

Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust 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.