One Metric To Rule Them All: Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:CAR.UN)

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Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust is a CA$7.8b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Toronto, Canada. 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 CAR.UN is unique and it has to adhere to different requirements compared to other non-REIT stocks. I’ll take you through some of the key metrics you should use in order to properly assess CAR.UN.

See our latest analysis for Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

REIT investors should be familiar with the term Fund from Operations (FFO) – a REIT’s main source of cash flow from its day-to-day business activities. FFO is a higher quality measure of earnings because it takes out the impact of non-recurring sales and non-cash items such as depreciation. These items can distort the bottom line and not necessarily reflective of CAR.UN’s daily operations. For CAR.UN, its FFO of CA$431m makes up 98% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

TSX:CAR.UN Historical Debt, June 12th 2019

CAR.UN’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 CAR.UN 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 10%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take CAR.UN 9.96 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 CAR.UN’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 3.56x, it’s safe to say CAR.UN is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

In terms of valuing CAR.UN, 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 CAR.UN’s case its P/FFO is 18.12x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is slightly overvalued.

Next Steps:

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. Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust 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:

  1. Valuation: What is CAR.UN 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 CAR.UN is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management: Who are the people running the company? Experienced management and board are important for setting the right strategy during a volatile market. Take a look at information on CAR.UN’s executive and directors here.
  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.