Apartment Investment and Management Company (NYSE: AIV), a real estate firm with a market capitalization of $6.9 billion, currently trades at an EBITDA Multiple of 19.9x which is above the sector’s median multiple of 18.8x. Although this makes AIV look unattractive, investors may change their mind after reviewing the assumptions behind the EV / EBITDA ratio. In the post below, I calculate AIV’s fair value using an EBITDA Multiples valuation.
How To Interpret AIV’s EBITDA Multiple
A multiples valuation, also known as a comparable companies analysis, determines the value of a subject company by benchmarking the subject’s financial performance against companies deemed to be similar. We can then determine if a company is undervalued or overvalued relative to its peers by comparing metrics like growth, profit margin, and valuation multiples.
EV / EBITDA, also known as Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA Multiple or an EBITDA Multiple, measures the dollars in Enterprise Value for each dollar of EBITDA. Its key benefit over the P/E multiple is that it’s capital structure-neutral, and, therefore, better at comparing companies with different levels of debt. The general formula behind an EBITDA Multiples valuation model is the following:
Enterprise Value = EBITDA x Selected Multiple
The EV / EBITDA ratio by itself is not very helpful at all. It is only useful when comparing it to other companies that are considered similar to the subject company. The basic idea is that companies with similar characteristics should trade at similar multiples, all other things being equal. Therefore, we can come to a conclusion about the stock if the ratios are different. In the chart below, I compare AIV’s EV / EBITDA ratio to its peer group that includes UDR, Inc. (NYSE: UDR), Camden Property Trust (NYSE: CPT), Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESS) and Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (NYSE: MAA).
Since AIV’s EV / EBITDA ratio of 19.9x is lower than the median of its peers (21.9x), it means that investors are paying less than they should for each dollar of AIV’s EBITDA. As such, our analysis shows that AIV represents an undervalued stock. Furthermore, finbox.io’s EV / EBITDA Ratio Model calculates a fair value of roughly $46.50 per share which implies around 12.0% upside.
I selected a fair multiple of 21.3x in my analysis by averaging AIV’s current EV / EBITDA ratio with its peer group and sector.
EBITDA Multiple Flaws
While this approach typically provides a reasonable valuation range, it is important to understand that our conclusion rests on some important assumptions. The first being that the selected peer group actually contains companies that truly are similar to AIV. The second important assumption is that the selected peer group stocks are being fairly valued by the market.
If the assumptions above do not hold to be true, then the difference in EV / EBITDA ratios could be due to a variety of factors. For example, if you accidentally compare AIV with higher growth companies, then its EBITDA multiple would naturally be lower than its peers since investors reward high growth stocks with a higher price.
source: EBITDA multiples model
Now if the second assumption does not hold true, AIV’s lower multiple may be because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.
What To Do Next
As a current investor, you may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the company and its stock so its current undervaluation could signal a potential buying opportunity to increase your position in AIV. But keep in mind the EV / EBITDA ratio’s potential flaws when applying this valuation approach. It is important to note that there are a variety of other fundamental factors that I have not taken into consideration in this article. I highly recommend that you continue your research on AIV by taking a look at the following:
Valuation Metrics: what is AIV’s EBITDA less CapEx multiple and how does it compare to its peers? This is a helpful multiple to analyze when comparing capital intensive businesses. View the company’s EBITDA less CapEx multiple here.
Risk Metrics: what is AIV’s asset efficiency? This ratio measures the amount of cash flow that a company generates from its assets. View the company’s asset efficiency here.
Efficiency Metrics: is management becoming more or less efficient in creating value for the firm? Find out by analyzing the company’s return on invested capital ratio here.
As of this writing, I did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities and this is not a buy or sell recommendation on any security mentioned.