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Is NewRiver REIT plc (LON:NRR) A Healthy REIT?

Simply Wall St

NewRiver REIT plc is a UK£661m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in London, United Kingdom. REITs are basically a portfolio of income-producing real estate investments, which are owned and operated by management of that trust company. They have to meet certain requirements in order to become a REIT, meaning they should be analyzed a different way. Below, I'll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on NRR.

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Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of NRR'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 NRR, its FFO of UK£36m makes up 40% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

LSE:NRR Historical Debt, May 27th 2019

NRR'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 NRR 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 7.1%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take NRR 14.14 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 NRR'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 1.9x, NRR 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 NRR, 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 NRR’s case its P/FFO is 18.58x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly overvalued.

Next Steps:

NewRiver REIT 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 NRR:

  1. Valuation: What is NRR 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 NRR 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 NRR'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.

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.