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Why You Shouldn’t Look At National Health Investors Inc’s (NYSE:NHI) Bottom Line

Rowena Gregory

National Health Investors Inc is a US$3.27b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Murfreesboro, United States. 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 NHI.

Check out our latest analysis for National Health Investors

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 NHI 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 NHI, its FFO of US$197.3m makes up 70.8% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:NHI Historical Debt September 14th 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 NHI 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 17.2%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take NHI 5.81 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 NHI’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 4.26x, it’s safe to say NHI is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at NHI’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. NHI’s price-to-FFO is 16.71x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is fairly valued.

Next Steps:

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. National Health Investors 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:

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