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How To Look At Altarea SCA (EPA:ALTA)

Simply Wall St

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Altarea SCA is a €2.8b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Paris, France. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how ALTA’s business operates and also how we should analyse its stock. Below, I'll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on ALTA.

View our latest analysis for Altarea

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 ALTA’s daily operations. For ALTA, its FFO of €205m makes up 32% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

ENXTPA:ALTA Historical Debt, June 18th 2019

In order to understand whether ALTA 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 ALTA to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into ALTA’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 6.1%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take ALTA 16 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 ALTA’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 3.37x, it’s safe to say ALTA is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at ALTA's valuation relative to other REITs in France 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 ALTA’s case its P/FFO is 13.83x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly undervalued.

Next Steps:

As a REIT, Altarea offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in ALTA, I highly recommend taking a look at other aspects of the stock to consider:

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