Investing In Property Through alstria office REIT-AG (ETR:AOX)

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alstria office REIT-AG is a €2.5b mid-cap, real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Hamburg, Germany. 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. In this commentary, I’ll take you through some of the things I look at when assessing AOX.

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Funds from Operations (FFO) is a higher quality measure of AOX’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 AOX, its FFO of €119m makes up 70% of its gross profit, which means the majority of its earnings are high-quality and recurring.

XTRA:AOX Historical Debt, June 12th 2019XTRA:AOX Historical Debt, June 12th 2019
XTRA:AOX Historical Debt, June 12th 2019

Robust financial health can be measured using a common metric in the REIT investing world, FFO-to-debt. The calculation roughly estimates how long it will take for AOX to repay debt on its balance sheet, which gives us insight into how much risk is associated with having that level of debt on its books. With a ratio of 8.8%, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor would consider this as aggressive risk. This would take AOX 11.35 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 AOX’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 3.94x, it’s safe to say AOX is generating an appropriate amount of cash from its borrowings.

In terms of valuing AOX, 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. AOX’s price-to-FFO is 21.2x, compared to the long-term industry average of 16.5x, meaning that it is 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. alstria office REIT-AG 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. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for AOX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AOX’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is AOX 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 AOX 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.