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How To Look At Farmland Partners Inc. (NYSE:FPI)

Simply Wall St

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Farmland Partners Inc. is a US$215m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Denver, 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 FPI 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 FPI.

Check out our latest analysis for Farmland Partners

Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of FPI's earnings compared to net income. This term is very common in the REIT investing world as it provides a cleaner look at its cash flow from daily operations by excluding impact of one-off activities or non-cash items such as depreciation. For FPI, its FFO of US$20m makes up 41% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:FPI Historical Debt, June 17th 2019

FPI's financial stability can be gauged by seeing how much its FFO generated each year can cover its total amount of debt. The higher the coverage, the less risky FPI is, broadly speaking, to have debt on its books. The metric I'll be using, FFO-to-debt, also estimates the time it will take for the company to repay its debt with its FFO. With a ratio of 3.8%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take FPI 26 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 FPI’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 1.06x, FPI is not generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings. Typically, a ratio of greater than 3x is seen as safe.

In terms of valuing FPI, 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. In FPI’s case its P/FFO is 10.76x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is undervalued.

Next Steps:

Farmland Partners 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 FPI:

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