Artis REIT: A Safe 8.3% Yield

Many investors adhere to a very simple rule. The bigger the dividend, the larger the risk it gets cut.

 

That’s a fine rule of thumb, but it implies the market is fully efficient. Sometimes, a dividend yield doesn’t accurately reflect a security’s risk.

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:AX.UN) is a great example. Shares yield 8.3%, which is one of the highest payouts on the TSX Composite today. The yield implies the payout is ripe to get cut. But reality tells a very different story.

 

The trust recently delivered its full-year 2016 results. It produced $1.55 per share in funds from operations, a 1.3% improvement versus a year earlier. Adjusted funds from operations fell 6.2% to $1.26 per share, mostly because of some renovations done to a few different properties.

No matter how you look at it, Artis still easily earned enough to cover its $1.08 per share annual distribution.

 

Artis is a big player in Alberta, with approximately 30% of its net operating income coming from the province. Alberta is struggling, there’s no doubt about that. But Artis has done a nice job minimizing vacancies.

The company is also expanding into the United States, where it is rewarded with better cap rates than in Canada. The weak Canadian dollar has also helped results from its U.S. division when converted back to local currency.

 Artis is also cheap on a book value perspective. Book value is currently $17.47 per share. The current share price is $13.04, putting shares at a 25% discount to book value.