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EastGroup Properties, Inc. is a US$3.9b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Ridgeland, 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 EGP.
Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of EGP’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 EGP, its FFO of US$165m makes up 77% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.
In order to understand whether EGP has a healthy balance sheet, we have to look at a metric called FFO-to-total debt. This tells us how long it will take EGP to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into EGP’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 15%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as significantly high risk. This would take EGP 6.71 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.
I also look at EGP’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 4.69x, it’s safe to say EGP is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.
In terms of valuing EGP, 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. EGP’s price-to-FFO is 23.74x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.
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. EastGroup Properties 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:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for EGP’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EGP’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is EGP 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 EGP is currently mispriced by the market.
- 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 email@example.com.