How Should You Analyze REIT Stock Safety Income & Growth Inc (NYSE:SAFE)?

Safety Income & Growth Inc is a US$344.52m 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.

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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 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$8.70m makes up 39.96% of its gross profit, which means over a third of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

NYSE:SAFE Historical Debt June 27th 18
NYSE:SAFE Historical Debt June 27th 18

In order to understand whether SAFE 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 SAFE to pay off its debt using its income from its main business activities, and gives us an insight into SAFE’s ability to service its borrowings. With a ratio of 2.82%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take SAFE 35.41 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.

I also look at SAFE’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 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. SAFE’s price-to-FFO is 39.61x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is overvalued.

Next Steps:

As a REIT, Safety Income & Growth offers some unique characteristics which could help diversify your portfolio. However, before you decide on whether or not to invest in SAFE, 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 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.