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What You Need To Know Before Investing In Universal Health Realty Income Trust (NYSE:UHT)

Casey Hall

Universal Health Realty Income Trust is a US$996.8m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in King Of Prussia, United States. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how UHT’s business operates and also how we should analyse its stock. In this commentary, I’ll take you through some of the things I look at when assessing UHT.

View our latest analysis for Universal Health Realty Income Trust

A common financial term REIT investors should know is Funds from Operations, or FFO for short, which is a REIT’s main source of income from its portfolio of property, such as rent. FFO is a cleaner and more representative figure of how much UHT actually makes from its day-to-day operations, compared to net income, which can be affected by one-off activities or non-cash items such as depreciation. For UHT, its FFO of US$46.0m makes up 64.7% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:UHT Historical Debt September 25th 18

In order to understand whether UHT 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 UHT to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into UHT’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 17.9%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take UHT 5.57 years to pay off using operating income alone. Given that long-term debt is a multi-year commitment this is not unusual, however, the longer it takes for a company to pay back debt, the higher the risk associated with that company.

Next, interest coverage ratio shows how many times UHT’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 4.57x, it’s safe to say UHT is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at UHT’s valuation relative to other REITs in United States 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 UHT’s case its P/FFO is 21.17x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.

Next Steps:

In this article, I’ve taken a look at Funds from Operations using various metrics, but it is certainly not sufficient to derive an investment decision based on this value alone. Universal Health Realty Income Trust can bring about diversification for your portfolio, but before you decide to invest, take a look at the other aspects you must consider before investing:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for UHT’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for UHT’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is UHT 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 UHT 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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.