A couple things to check in on before I get to the “meat” of today’s note for you.
First… it turns out that Medical Properties Trust (MPW) is not a dividend grower. I thought they were signaling dividend growth with their increased guidance a couple weeks ago, and thought that they would hike the dividend this month as they did a year ago (that was their first dividend hike in a long time). Didn’t happen, they declared the same $0.21 dividend they’ve paid for the past four quarters.
So what do we do? They still have the capacity to increase the dividend, the way I read things, but they either want the money for something else (they are growing and do need capital) or they intend to wait until cash flow supports the dividend more comfortably to increase it, or they simply don’t want to be a “dividend growth” REIT. I think growth is still very solid at MPW, given their large deals in Germany that they’ll be digesting over the next couple quarters, and that the business is on a good trend operationally and in a good spot strategically (hospitals are doing well and want to expand, doing a sale/leaseback is a great way for some of them to get financing for expansion or modernization), so I will continue to hold it at this price and be content with a 6%+ yield.
But if it’s not a dividend growth stock, I don’t want to think of it as a “core” stock that I can hold without a tight hand on the reins. So we’ll keep it as it stands, MPW is still a speculative REIT because they haven’t established a dividend growth pattern — and it should yield more than their “near peers” who are consistent dividend growers like Ventas (VTR), HCP (HCP) or Health Care REIT (HCN), most of which have yields about 25% lower (in the 4-5% range). So ROIC and COR stay as my “core” REITS, MPW is still a bit more speculative — not what I expected to be writing this week, but there you have it. And we’ll also have to keep an eye on the increasing German exposure for MPW — it’s good to be diversified, but if the euro gets really hammered (as some folks expect, as the ECB tries to talk down and maybe do some real ...