National Storage Affiliates Trust is a US$2.5b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Greenwood Village, United States. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how NSA’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 NSA.
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 NSA’s daily operations. For NSA, its FFO of US$124m makes up 67% 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 NSA 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 13%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take NSA 7.71 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 NSA’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 3.65x, it’s safe to say NSA is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.
In terms of valuing NSA, 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 NSA’s case its P/FFO is 20.11x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.
As a REIT, National Storage Affiliates Trust offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in NSA, I highly recommend taking a look at other aspects of the stock to consider:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for NSA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for NSA’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is NSA 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 NSA 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.
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.
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