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This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios Series.
I like companies that put cash back into my portfolio, and that's part of the reason I'm buying Sabra Health Care REIT (Nasdaq: SBRA ) for my Rising Stars Portfolio. The company is a recent spinoff of Sun Healthcare (Nasdaq: SUNHD ) and is poised to take advantage of the ailing commercial property market as it ramps up its own operations under former Sun CEO Richard Matros.
As part of the spinoff, Sabra was assigned most of Sun's properties, consisting of 86 health-care buildings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers across the U.S. The company provides services at these various facilities, and Sabra collects rents from Sun under triple net leases (i.e., Sun pays for insurance, maintenance, and taxes) that have been signed for initial 10- or 15-year periods. Currently, these former properties comprise all of Sabra's portfolio. But Sabra is looking to expand, using a wad of cash, loans and then equity.
The company expects to further diversify by geography, asset class, and tenant. Sabra plans to acquire nursing homes and other assisted living facilities before looking at deals in medical offices and hospitals among others. Sabra is looking at acquisitions in the range of $10 million to $30 million, according to Matros, who built Sun's portfolio of properties over the last decade.
Why I'm buying
The company has nearly $65 million in cash, and a credit line of $100 million that is expandable up to $200 million. Because of Matros' background in the field, he knows many smaller companies that are looking for financing.
At a current price of $16.50, Sabra should pay out a yield of around 7.8%. But with Sabra's liquidity, that payout should increase as it makes acquisitions. And since Sabra is a small company, it can grow at a faster pace than larger operators such as HCP (NYSE: HCP ) . Its relatively small size should also make the company more attractive to investors looking for growth, and it currently trades around 10 times funds from operations.
While I don't see a clear prospect of huge capital gains, an investment here gets money coming into the portfolio with Sabra's relatively high and (potentially) growing yield. Therefore, I'm allocating just under 6% of our total capital, or $1,000, to a position in Sabra. I would not be averse to adding to this position, should prices become more favorable.
I see a few risks here: First, if Matros and his team fail to find good deals and instead settle for tepid properties. Notwithstanding Matros' experience acquiring real estate over the last decade, Matros will have to wring out deals from desperate operators in the tricky commercial real estate market. Also, the company does have a chief investment officer who has significant experience in real estate, and has served at Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management and HCP, a huge health-care real estate investor. So I'll be watching this as we move forward.
Another related risk is Sabra's ability to create value from newly obtained properties. I'll be watching that as we move ahead.
The final risk has to do largely with the company's total reliance on Sun, which is highly exposed in its operation to Medicare and Medicaid programs. These programs together comprise some 70% of Sun's revenue, meaning any substantial decline could put Sabra's key source of revenue in some jeopardy. Fortunately, Sabra has long-term contracts on each of these properties.
Sabra offers us the opportunity to obtain a high yield in a frothy real estate market. If the equity market is, as many feel, overvalued, future upside of the broader market could be limited. But Sabra's yield too will help limit downside risk, and provide an ongoing source of income as we wait for the company's plans to develop.