Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) and EPR Properties (NYSE:EPR) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, earnings, risk, profitability, dividends, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

91.7% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 85.1% of EPR Properties shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.5% of EPR Properties shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Liberty Property Trust and EPR Properties, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Liberty Property Trust 1 3 3 0 2.29
EPR Properties 0 2 2 0 2.50

Liberty Property Trust presently has a consensus price target of $42.50, indicating a potential upside of 0.16%. EPR Properties has a consensus price target of $78.80, indicating a potential upside of 11.49%. Given EPR Properties’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe EPR Properties is more favorable than Liberty Property Trust.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and EPR Properties’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Liberty Property Trust $728.41 million 8.58 $406.11 million $2.34 18.13
EPR Properties $526.01 million 9.90 $461.10 million $3.40 20.79

EPR Properties has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Liberty Property Trust. Liberty Property Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than EPR Properties, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Liberty Property Trust and EPR Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Liberty Property Trust 47.24% 11.37% 5.51%
EPR Properties 46.90% 10.51% 4.89%

Dividends

Liberty Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.8%. EPR Properties pays an annual dividend of $4.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.8%. Liberty Property Trust pays out 68.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. EPR Properties pays out 120.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Liberty Property Trust has raised its dividend for 2 consecutive years and EPR Properties has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years. EPR Properties is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Volatility & Risk

Liberty Property Trust has a beta of 0.88, indicating that its share price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, EPR Properties has a beta of 0.58, indicating that its share price is 42% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Liberty Property Trust beats EPR Properties on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Liberty Property Trust Company Profile

Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership). The Company’s segments include Carolinas/Richmond; Chicago/Milwaukee; Florida; Houston; Lehigh/Central PA; Minnesota; Philadelphia; Southeastern PA; United Kingdom, and Other, which includes Arizona; Atlanta; Cincinnati/Columbus/Indianapolis; Dallas; DC Metro; New Jersey; Southern California, and other. The Company owns and operates industrial properties nationally and owns and operates office properties in a focused group of office markets. Additionally, the Company owns certain assets in the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 450 industrial and 55 office properties totaling 86.0 million square feet.

EPR Properties Company Profile

EPR Properties is a specialty real estate investment trust. The Company’s investment portfolio includes primarily entertainment, education and recreation properties. The Company’s segments include Entertainment, Education, Recreation and Other. The Entertainment segment consists of investments in megaplex theatres, entertainment retail centers, family entertainment centers and other retail parcels. The Education segment consists of investments in public charter schools, early education centers and K-12 private schools. The Recreation segment consists of investments in ski areas, waterparks, golf entertainment complexes and other recreation. The Other segment consists primarily of land under ground lease, property under development and land held for development. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s owned real estate portfolio of megaplex theatres consisted of approximately 10.6 million square feet.

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