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How To Look At Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc (NASDAQ:WHLR)

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Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc is a US$40.9m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Virginia Beach, 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 WHLR is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. Below, I’ll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on WHLR.

See our latest analysis for Wheeler Real Estate Investment 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 WHLR 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 WHLR, its FFO of US$24.7m makes up 61.3% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NasdaqCM:WHLR Historical Debt September 25th 18
NasdaqCM:WHLR Historical Debt September 25th 18

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 WHLR 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 8.0%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take WHLR 12.46 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 WHLR’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 1.44x, WHLR 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 WHLR’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. WHLR’s price-to-FFO is 1.58x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is highly undervalued

Next Steps:

Wheeler 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 WHLR:

  1. Valuation: What is WHLR 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 WHLR is currently mispriced by the market.

  2. Management: Who are the people running the company? Experienced management and board are important for setting the right strategy during a volatile market. Take a look at information on WHLR’s executive and directors here.

  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.