How Should You Analyze REIT Stock CapitaLand Mall Trust (SGX:C38U)?

CapitaLand Mall Trust is a S$7.70b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Singapore, Singapore. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how C38U’s business operates and also how we should analyse its stock. I’ll take you through some of the key metrics you should use in order to properly assess C38U.

View our latest analysis for CapitaLand Mall Trust

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 C38U 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 C38U, its FFO of S$427.7m makes up 94.4% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

SGX:C38U Historical Debt August 29th 18
SGX:C38U Historical Debt August 29th 18

C38U’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 C38U 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 13.1%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take C38U 7.62 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 C38U’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 4.11x, it’s safe to say C38U is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

In terms of valuing C38U, 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. In C38U’s case its P/FFO is 17.84x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly overvalued.

Next Steps:

As a REIT, CapitaLand Mall Trust offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in C38U, 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 C38U’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for C38U’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is C38U 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 C38U 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.