Investing In Leasinvest Real Estate SCA (EBR:LEAS): What You Need To Know

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Leasinvest Real Estate SCA is a €613m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Antwerp, Belgium. 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 LEAS is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. I’ll take you through some of the key metrics you should use in order to properly assess LEAS.

View our latest analysis for Leasinvest Real Estate

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 LEAS 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 LEAS, its FFO of €37m makes up 82% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

ENXTBR:LEAS Historical Debt, June 12th 2019
ENXTBR:LEAS Historical Debt, June 12th 2019

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 LEAS 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 5.9%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take LEAS 17.06 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 LEAS’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 5.13x, it’s safe to say LEAS is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at LEAS’s valuation relative to other REITs in Belgium 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 LEAS’s case its P/FFO is 16.54x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is fairly valued.

Next Steps:

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

  1. 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 LEAS’s executive and directors here.
  2. 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.