How Should You Analyze REIT Stock CT Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:CRT.UN)?

CT Real Estate Investment Trust is a CA$2.6b small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Toronto, Canada. 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 CRT.UN 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 CRT.UN.

See our latest analysis for CT Real Estate Investment Trust

Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of CRT.UN’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 CRT.UN, its FFO of CA$317m makes up 92% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

TSX:CRT.UN Historical Debt December 25th 18
TSX:CRT.UN Historical Debt December 25th 18

CRT.UN’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 CRT.UN 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 12%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take CRT.UN 8.02 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 CRT.UN’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 3.29x, it’s safe to say CRT.UN is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at CRT.UN’s valuation relative to other REITs in Canada 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 CRT.UN’s case its P/FFO is 7.93x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is undervalued.

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. CT Real Estate Investment Trust 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 CRT.UN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CRT.UN’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is CRT.UN 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 CRT.UN 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.