You May Have Been Looking At CareTrust REIT, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTRE) All Wrong

CareTrust REIT, Inc. is a US$1.5b small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in San Clemente, United States. REITs are basically a portfolio of income-producing real estate investments, which are owned and operated by management of that trust company. They have to meet certain requirements in order to become a REIT, meaning they should be analyzed a different way. I’ll take you through some of the key metrics you should use in order to properly assess CTRE.

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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 CTRE 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 CTRE, its FFO of US$89m makes up 74% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NasdaqGS:CTRE Historical Debt January 16th 19
NasdaqGS:CTRE Historical Debt January 16th 19

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 CTRE 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 16%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take CTRE 6.29 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 CTRE’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 3.67x, it’s safe to say CTRE is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

I also use FFO to look at CTRE’s valuation relative to other REITs in United States 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. CTRE’s price-to-FFO is 18.85x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly overvalued.

Next Steps:

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