Plymouth Industrial REIT, Inc. is a US$122m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Boston, 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 PLYM is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. In this commentary, I'll take you through some of the things I look at when assessing PLYM.
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Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of PLYM'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 PLYM, its FFO of US$15m makes up 47% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.
In order to understand whether PLYM has a healthy balance sheet, we have to look at a metric called FFO-to-total debt. This tells us how long it will take PLYM to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into PLYM’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 4.7%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take PLYM 21.33 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 PLYM'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 0.94x, PLYM 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 PLYM, 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. PLYM's price-to-FFO is 8.18x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is undervalued.
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. Plymouth Industrial REIT 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 PLYM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PLYM’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is PLYM 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 PLYM 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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