Medical Properties Trust, Inc. (MPW) is one undervalued company I bought recently because it has been down over 40% since its high in the ~$24 price range. The chart below shows how the stock responded before in the approximately $24 price range. I am interested in buying more shares, and the following support level will be at the $12 level. This level is marked as the second line in the chart below. Moreover, MPW is undervalued at current levels, and the dividend yield is over 7.5%. Next, we will discuss more details about the company and the amount of undervaluation.
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Overview of Medical Properties Trust
The Medical Properties Trust Corporation is an American multinational Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that acquired and develops hospital real estate. The company is based in Birmingham, Alabama. MPW owns about 440 properties and ~46,000 licensed beds. Most of the properties are general acute care hospitals at about 72%. Around 60% of the facilities are in the US, another 20% are in the UK, and the remainder are scattered in eight other countries. In the US, the top five states are Texas 9.0%, California at 7.4%, Florida at 6.0%, Utah at 5.6%, and Massachusetts at 5.3%.
MPW is down around 40% since its time high in January 2022. The main driver of the stock price decrease is a reversion to the mean after the stock price went from a low in March 2020 to a high in January 2022. Additionally, the overall market has been on a downtrend because of rising interest rates and the possibility of a recession.
The current stock price of $15.48 (as of this writing) is near the lower end of the 52-week range, between $14.10 and $24.13 per share. Thus, MPW looks like a stock that seems to be in the right place to buy up shares where both the 52-week range and support line meet. Below we will analyze MPW including why it is undervalued.
MPW Dividend History, Growth, and Yield
We will now look at MPW’s dividend history, growth, and dividend yield. We will then determine if it’s still a good buy at current prices.
Medical Properties Trust is considered a Dividend Challenger, a company that has increased its dividend for more than five years. In this case, MPW has increased its dividend for nine consecutive years. MPW’s most recent quarterly dividend increase was 4% to $0.29 per share, announced in February 2022.
Additionally, according to Portfolio Insight*, MPW has a five-year dividend growth rate of about 4.24%, which is excellent considering how fast inflation increased this year and the high current dividend yield. Unfortunately, the 10-year dividend growth rate is slightly lower at ~3.42%.
Something essential to note is that MPW continued to pay its dividend during the most challenging period in the last 100 years. Many businesses and industries cut or suspended their dividend payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Medical Properties Trust continued to pay out its dividend and increased it. That is very noteworthy. This fact alone leads me to believe in the strength of the company and the fact that management is focused and committed to the dividend policy.
The company has an excellent dividend yield of approximately 7.5% as of this writing, which is more than four times the dividend yield of the S&P 500 Index. This dividend yield is a respectable initial yield for income-driven investors. This dividend yield is also suitable for investors leaving the bond market looking for higher yields. Finally, it is also an excellent stock for income-driven investors who may want a 4.5% yield or higher.
MPW’s current dividend yield is higher than its own 5-year average dividend yield of about 6.0%. I like to look at this metric because it gives me a good idea if a company I am researching is undervalued or overvalued based on the current and 5-year average yield. Stock price and dividend yield are inversely related. If the stock price increases, the dividend yield decreases, and vice versa.
Let’s determine if the current dividend is safe? This metric is critical to look at as a dividend growth investor. Undervalued dividend stocks sometimes present us with a “value trap,” and the stock price can continue to head lower.
We must look at two critical metrics to determine if the dividend payments are safe every year. The first one is earning per share (OFC), and then we must look into free cash flow (FCF) per share or operating cash flow (OCF).
Since MPW is a REIT, we will look at both OCF and FCF to determine its dividend safety.
Analysts predict that MPW will earn an OFC of about $1.84 per share for the fiscal year (FY) 2022. Analysts are somewhat accurate when estimating MPW’s future OFC. In addition, the company is expected to pay out $1.16 per share in dividends for the entire year. These numbers give a payout ratio of approximately 63% based on OFC, a conservative payout ratio for a REIT since most REITs are generally at around a 90% payout.
Having a 70% or lower dividend coverage with a dividend yield of roughly 7.5% excites me. This point will allow the company to continue to grow its dividend at a mid-single-digit or a high single-digit rate, as it has been doing for the past ten years, without sacrificing dividend safety. In addition, MPW has a dividend payout ratio of 80% on an FCF basis. Thus, the dividend is well covered in both OFC and FCF.
MPW Revenue and Earnings Growth / Balance Sheet Strength
We will now look at how well MPW performed and grew its OCF and revenue throughout the years. When valuing a company, these two metrics are at the top of my list to study. Without revenue growth, a company can’t have sustainable OFC growth and continue paying a growing dividend.
MPW revenues have grown tremendously at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25.5% for the past ten years. Net income did a little better with a CAGR of ~26.4% over the same ten-year period.
However, OFC has grown 4.9 % annually for the past ten years and at a CAGR of 4.3% over the past five years. Furthermore, OFC has significantly increased from FY2020 to FY2021, increasing nearly 13% year over year.
Since revenue, net income, and OFC did have good growth over the years, this stock is attractive based on its valuation and dividend yield. We will talk about the company’s valuation later in this article. In the meantime, analysts predict that the company will grow OFC at an annualized 6% rate over the next five years.
Last year’s OFC increased from $1.21 per share in 2020 to $1.37 per share for 2021, a significant increase of 13% considering the challenging two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This performance was an excellent growth year over year. Additionally, analysts expect MPW to make an OFC of $1.45 per share for the fiscal year 2022, which would be a ~6% increase compared to 2021. This point makes the stock more and more attractive to me.
The company has an acceptable balance sheet. MPW has an S&P Global credit rating of BB+, a non-investment grade rating, bit one notch below investment grade. Also, the company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.2X, which is an acceptable ratio. Thus, the company has a stable balance sheet to overcome significant economic downturns like the COVID-19 pandemic last two years, adding to the dividend safety.
MPW Competitive Advantage and Risks
MPW’s competitive advantage comes from its size and history of doing business. As a result, the company can optimize and scale much faster than most competitors. The company also could continue to make strategic acquisitions to grow its size, helping with future earnings growth.
The risk with an investment in MPW, as with any REIT, is its tenants. How well is the ability of its tenants to continue to pay its rent to MPW? The company has one tenant that makes up 19% of MPW’s revenue. If this tenant cannot pay rent, then MPW will be in trouble. However, this tenant has a near 3X rent coverage ratio, which is decent. Furthermore, during 2020 and 2021, this tenant did not miss any rent payments. Thus, this leads me to believe that it will be able to continue to pay rent in 2022 and for the foreseeable future.
Medical Properties Trust is Undervalued
One of the valuation metrics that I like to look for is the dividend yield compared to the past few years’ histories. I also want to look for a lower price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio based on the past 5-year or 10-year average. Lastly, I like to use the Dividend Discount Model (DDM). I use a DDM analysis because a business ultimately equals the sum of the future cash flow that that business can provide.
Let’s first look at the P/OCF ratio. MPW has a P/OCF ratio of ~10.2X based on FY 2022 OFC of $1.45 per share. The P/OCF multiple is excellent compared to the past 5-year P/OCF average of 16.4X. If MPW were to revert to a P/OFC of 16.4X, we would obtain a price of $23.78 per share.
Now let’s look at the dividend yield. As I mentioned, the dividend yield is currently about 7.5%. There is good upside potential as MPW’s own 5-year dividend yield average is ~6.0%. For example, if MPW were to return to its dividend yield 5-year average, the price target would be $19.66.
The last item I like to look at to determine a fair price is the DDM analysis. I factored in a 9% discount rate and a long-term dividend growth rate of 4%. I use a 9% discount rate because of the higher-than-normal current dividend yield. In addition, the projected dividend growth rate is conservative and lower than its past 5-year average. These assumptions give a fair price target of approximately $24.13 per share.
If we average the three fair price targets of $23.78, $19.66, and $24.13, we obtain a reasonable, fair price of $22.52 per share, giving MPW a possible upside of 45.5% from the current $14.36 share price.
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Conclusion on Medical Properties Trust (MPW): Undervalued and 7%+ yield
MPW is a high-quality and undervalued company that should meet most investors’ requirements. The company has a market-beating 7.5% yield and a long-term dividend growth history. In addition, the company grew earnings during the COVID-19 pandemic, which says a lot about its business model and quality. Medical Properties Trust is a world-class corporation on sale with a 45.5% upside from the current price. Thus, I have a buy recommendation for it.
Disclosure: Long MPW
You can also read VF Corporation (VFC): Undervalued Dividend Aristocrat by the same author.
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My name is Felix Martinez, and I am a Dividend Growth Investor who has invested in dividend growth stocks for the past seven years. I also run a YouTube channel called FiscalVoyage. I have written for SeekingAlpha.com as well as SureDividend.com. I focus on undervalued dividend growth stocks with capital return and dividend income potential. Make sure to follow me on my YouTube Channel. See you there.