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Investing In Property Through Nexus Real Estate Investment Trust (CVE:NXR.UN)

Simply Wall St

Nexus Real Estate Investment Trust is a CA$229m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Calgary, Canada. 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 NXR.UN 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 NXR.UN.

View our latest analysis for Nexus Real Estate Investment Trust

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 NXR.UN’s daily operations. For NXR.UN, its FFO of CA$20m makes up 59% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

TSXV:NXR.UN Historical Debt, April 10th 2019

In order to understand whether NXR.UN has a healthy balance sheet, we have to look at a metric called FFO-to-total debt. This tells us how long it will take NXR.UN to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into NXR.UN’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 6.9%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take NXR.UN 14.53 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.

Next, interest coverage ratio shows how many times NXR.UN’s earnings can cover its annual interest payments. Usually the ratio is calculated using EBIT, but for REITs, it’s better to use FFO divided by net interest. This is similar to the above concept, but looks at the nearer-term obligations. With an interest coverage ratio of 1.58x, NXR.UN is not generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings. Typically, a ratio of greater than 3x is seen as safe.

I also use FFO to look at NXR.UN's valuation relative to other REITs in Canada by using the price-to-FFO metric. This is conceptually the same as the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio, but as previously mentioned, FFO is more suitable. In NXR.UN’s case its P/FFO is 11.71x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is undervalued.

Next Steps:

Nexus Real Estate Investment Trust can bring diversification into your portfolio due to its unique REIT characteristics. Before you make a decision on the stock today, keep in mind I've only covered one metric in this article, the FFO, which is by no means comprehensive. I'd strongly recommend continuing your research on the following areas I believe are key fundamentals for NXR.UN:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for NXR.UN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for NXR.UN’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is NXR.UN 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 NXR.UN is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. 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.

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.