EastGroup Properties, Inc. is a US$3.9b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Ridgeland, 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 EGP 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 EGP.
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 EGP’s daily operations. For EGP, its FFO of US$165m makes up 77% 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 EGP 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 15%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take EGP 6.8 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.
I also look at EGP’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 4.69x, it’s safe to say EGP is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.
I also use FFO to look at EGP’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 EGP’s case its P/FFO is 23.4x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.
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. EastGroup Properties 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:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for EGP’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EGP’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is EGP 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 EGP 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.
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