Investing In Medical Properties Trust, Inc. (NYSE:MPW): What You Need To Know

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Medical Properties Trust, Inc. is a US$7.1b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Birmingham, United States. 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 MPW 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 MPW.

Check out our latest analysis for Medical Properties 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 MPW 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 MPW, its FFO of US$449m makes up 58% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:MPW Historical Debt, June 17th 2019
NYSE:MPW Historical Debt, June 17th 2019

In order to understand whether MPW 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 MPW to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into MPW’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 11%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take MPW 9 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.

Next, interest coverage ratio shows how many times MPW’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 2.01x, MPW is not generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings. Typically, a ratio of greater than 3x is seen as safe.

In terms of valuing MPW, 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 MPW’s case its P/FFO is 15.85x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is fairly valued.

Next Steps:

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.