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UHT Dividend Stock Analysis

Universal Health Realty Income Trust (UHT) operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company invests in health care and human service related facilities, including acute care hospitals, behavioral healthcare facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, sub-acute facilities, surgery centers, childcare centers, and medical office buildings. The company is a dividend achiever and has raised distributions for 22 consecutive years.

Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered a total return of 16.70% per annum to its shareholders.

As a Real Estate Investment trust, the company has to distribute almost all of its net income to shareholders. An important metric for evaluating REITs is Funds from operations (FFO). Over the past decade FFO has increased by 1.10% on average. Future growth in funds from operations could come from acquisitions or increase in rents. Universal Health Realty Income Trust earns bonus rents from the subsidiaries of UHS, which are based on the excess over base amounts revenue that these facilities generate. There were no acquisitions in 2009, although the company did make a few acquisitions in 2010 and 2008.

Fifty-one percent of UHT’s revenues are derived from leases to Universal Health Services. UHT’s advisor is a subsidiary of UHS, and all officers of Universal Health Realty are employees of UHS, which could create conflicts of interest. In addition to that over $32 million dollars in long-term debt are expected to mature in 2010. The company expects to refinance almost $12 million dollars of its maturing loans, which carry market interest rates. Another portion of the debt maturing in 2010 for $7 million could be extended for an additional three years to 2013. A construction loan for almost $13.5 million at a very low rate could be extended for up to one additional year. The company also has $48.8 million of outstanding borrowings under the terms of its revolving credit agreement which matures in January 2012.

Over the past decade distributions have increased by 2.90% per annum, which was higher than the growth in FFO. A 3% annual growth in distributions translates into dividends doubling every 24 years. In 2009 the company raised quarterly distributions by 1.70%. Dividends of $2.38 per share were declared and paid during 2009, of which $1.94 per share was ordinary income and $.44 per share was a return of capital distribution.

As a Real Estate Investment trust HCP, Inc. must make distributions to its stockholders aggregating annually at least 90% of its REIT taxable income, excluding net capital gains. The FFO payout ratio is at 85%, which was the first decrease in this indicator since 2004. Overall the FFO payout has increased from 72% in 2000 to 85%, which was due to distributions growing faster than funds from operations. A lower FFO payout is preferable, as it minimizes the effect of short term fluctuations in rental incomes on the distribution rate.

Overall I find UHT Inc an attractive company for investment, with a business model that generates stable income streams in the healthcare field. I like the low Price/FFO ratio of 13, which is in the low range when compared to the past five years. This REIT yields 6.80% and has an adequately covered dividend.

I would not expect much growth in funds from operations and distributions above the rate of inflation however. I own two Real Estate Investment trusts dealing with retail properties on a triple net lease terms, so adding a healthcare related REIT would add to diversification in my portfolio.

Full Disclosure: Long UHT

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