<<I assume that board does not believe Yahoo estimates of over .90 earnings in 2001 and 2002. Would like a more realistic estimate if you have one. thanks <<
I really am not sure where Yahoo gets their information. Sometimes I can figure it out; sometimes I can't. It appears to me that the LTC Profile page uses GAAP earnings as reported by the company while the Research page uses FFO, as reported by the company and estimated by the grand total of 2 analysts. That the research page uses the appelation 'earnings' when what they mean is 'FFO,' well, that's Yahoo.
I have commented before that (not here), while I believe I know more about the companies I invest in than most individual investors, I am still appalled at how little information I actually have when I invest. If I were buying a house I would go look at it, jump up and down on the deck, turn on the water, examine the water heater, check the furnace, examine the roof, etc. But a stock? Heck, I have hardly no information except historical results.
Having said that, let me just say that what is in the actual 10K's and 10Q's is extremely important because they are communications directly from the company with rules and understood terminology and Big 8 (not 8, showing my age, what's the number now?) accounting firms on the line and SEC requirements and etc. Management can pretty much do what they want with your money, but they can't lie in an SEC filing.
Anyway, FFO resembles GAAP earnings except for depreciation. That should be the main deviation, but in the case of LTC there has also been a steady drumbeat of write-downs which are not reflected in FFO (it isn't reflected in taxable earnings, either, until the loss is realized). Reits don't include capital gains and losses in FFO, either, with at least one exception.
So, look at the size of depreciation and deduct it from FFO to estimate GAAP earnings. Hope there are no more write-downs (Hah!). The search for taxable earnings is hopeless without guidance from the company, of which I know of none (BTW, this is standard practice). I don't believe you will ever be able to figure out how much in dividends LTC MUST pay. But you should be able to come close to how much they COULD pay.
Also, remember that pfd dividends count as dividends. So, as an example, if there were $100M in FFO, $50M in depreciation and $50M in pfd dividends (speaking of tax figures here, not GAAP), then the required common dividend would be zero.
Your post sounds like you are more confused than what appears to be actually the case.
Yes, the "research" on Yahoo is actually the analyst's estimates for FFO, even if they are called earnings. In the past, Yahoo used Zacks estimates, now they have switched to Fist Call. Regardless, once you figured that out is wasn't confusing thereafter.
Now however, a group of analysts have decided the it is not proper to do their REIT estimates based on FFO so they will start using net income instead in threir reports of estimates. Another group of analysts, shunned by the first group, has decided, in defiance, that it will continue to report estimates based on FFO. So now, the First Call or Zacks estimates with be based on what? FFO, NI or a mixture of each? It could get very confusing!
FFO can better be described as operating cash flow. While depreciation is the primary factor added to net income to get FFO, there are several others.
So, for simplicity, to estimate required distributions, it might be easier to take the reported net income subtract the preferred dividends paid out and divide the balance by the number of shares. Most companies will pay out at least 100% of their taxable income, not the 90%, so they don't pay income taxes. While GAAP net income is different from taxable income, even the taxable income has adjustments made to it to determine the required minimum payout requirements. Were you really expecting this to be SIMPLE? :)
FWIW, going to www.nareit.com to get the amount of the 2000 dividends which were return of capital, reducing the dividend figure by that amount to get an approximate taxable income figure, subtracting pfd dividends from that taxable figure, multiplying the result by 90% and dividing it by the # of common shares......well, it appears to me that they would have had to pay about 56 cents a share last year to the common holders under this year's law. FWIW, which ain't much.