Should You Invest In Safehold Inc. (NYSE:SAFE)?

Safehold Inc. is a US$703m small-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in New York, United States. REITs own and operate income-generating property and adhere to a different set of regulations. This impacts how SAFE’s business operates and also how we should analyse its stock. Below, I’ll look at a few important metrics to keep in mind as part of your research on SAFE.

View our latest analysis for Safehold

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 SAFE 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 SAFE, its FFO of US$14m makes up 29% of its gross profit, which is relatively low, given most REITs’ earnings are predominantly high-quality and recurring funds from operations.

NYSE:SAFE Historical Debt, April 12th 2019
NYSE:SAFE Historical Debt, April 12th 2019

SAFE’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 SAFE 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 2.4%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take SAFE 40.96 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 SAFE’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 0.88x, SAFE 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 SAFE, 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 SAFE’s case its P/FFO is 51.99x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is highly overvalued.

Next Steps:

Safehold can bring diversification into your portfolio due to its unique REIT characteristics. Before you make a decision on the stock today, keep in mind I’ve only covered one metric in this article, the FFO, which is by no means comprehensive. I’d strongly recommend continuing your research on the following areas I believe are key fundamentals for SAFE:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SAFE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SAFE’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is SAFE 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 SAFE 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.