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Why You Shouldn’t Look At CatchMark Timber Trust Inc’s (NYSE:CTT) Bottom Line

CatchMark Timber Trust Inc is a US$435m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Atlanta, 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 CTT 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 CTT.

See our latest analysis for CatchMark Timber Trust

Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of CTT’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 CTT, its FFO of US$27m makes up 63% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:CTT Historical Debt November 2nd 18

CTT’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 CTT 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 8.3%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take CTT 12.06 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 CTT’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 2.45x, CTT 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 CTT’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. CTT’s price-to-FFO is 16.34x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is fairly valued.

Next Steps:

As a REIT, CatchMark Timber Trust offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in CTT, I highly recommend taking a look at other aspects of the stock to consider:

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

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.