Extra Space Storage Inc. is a US$16b large-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Salt Lake City, United States. REIT shares give you ownership of the company than owns and manages various income-producing property, whether it be commercial, industrial or residential. The structure of EXR is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. I’ll take you through some of the key metrics you should use in order to properly assess EXR.
REIT investors should be familiar with the term Fund from Operations (FFO) – a REIT’s main source of cash flow from its day-to-day business activities. FFO is a higher quality measure of earnings because it takes out the impact of non-recurring sales and non-cash items such as depreciation. These items can distort the bottom line and not necessarily reflective of EXR’s daily operations. For EXR, its FFO of US$678m makes up 74% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.
Robust financial health can be measured using a common metric in the REIT investing world, FFO-to-debt. The calculation roughly estimates how long it will take for EXR to repay debt on its balance sheet, which gives us insight into how much risk is associated with having that level of debt on its books. With a ratio of 14%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take EXR 7 years to pay off using just operating income, which is a long time, and risk increases with time. But realistically, companies have many levers to pull in order to pay back their debt, beyond operating income alone.
I also look at EXR's interest coverage ratio, which demonstrates how many times its earnings can cover its yearly interest expense. This is similar to the concept above, but looks at the upcoming obligations. The ratio is typically calculated using EBIT, but for a REIT stock, it's better to use FFO divided by net interest. With an interest coverage ratio of 3.7x, it’s safe to say EXR is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.
In terms of valuing EXR, FFO can also be used as a form of relative valuation. Instead of the P/E ratio, P/FFO is used instead, which is very common for REIT stocks. EXR's price-to-FFO is 24.52x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.
As a REIT, Extrace Storage offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in EXR, I highly recommend taking a look at other aspects of the stock to consider:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for EXR’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EXR’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is EXR worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether EXR is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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