You May Have Been Looking At SPH REIT (SGX:SK6U) All Wrong

SPH REIT is a S$2.54b small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Singapore, Singapore. 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 SK6U is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. Below, I’ll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on SK6U.

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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 SK6U 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 SK6U, its FFO of S$165.20m makes up 106.23% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

SGX:SK6U Historical Debt July 10th 18
SGX:SK6U Historical Debt July 10th 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 SK6U 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 19.31%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take SK6U 5.18 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.

Next, interest coverage ratio shows how many times SK6U’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 6.9x, it’s safe to say SK6U is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at SK6U’s valuation relative to other REITs in Singapore 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 SK6U’s case its P/FFO is 15.48x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is fairly valued.

Next Steps:

As a REIT, SPH REIT offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in SK6U, 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 SK6U’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SK6U’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is SK6U 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 SK6U 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.