Funds from Operations (“FFO”), adjusted FFO (“AFFO”), and Funds Available for Distribution (“FAD”) are supplemental measures of a real estate investment trust’s (“REIT”) financial performance that are not defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Investors, analysts and the Company use FFO, AFFO and FAD as supplemental measures of operating performance. The Company believes FFO, AFFO and FAD are helpful in evaluating the operating performance of a REIT. Real estate values historically rise and fall with market conditions, but cost accounting for real estate assets in accordance with GAAP assumes that the value of real estate assets diminishes predictably over time. We believe that by excluding the effect of historical cost depreciation, which may be of limited relevance in evaluating current performance, FFO, AFFO and FAD facilitate like comparisons of operating performance between periods. Additionally the Company believes that normalized FFO, normalized AFFO and normalized FAD provide useful information because they allow investors, analysts and our management to compare the Company’s operating performance on a consistent basis without having to account for differences caused by unanticipated items.
FFO, as defined by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”), means net income available to common stockholders (computed in accordance with GAAP) excluding gains or losses on the sale of real estate and impairment write-downs of depreciable real estate, plus real estate depreciation and amortization, and after adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. Normalized FFO represents FFO adjusted for non-recurring, infrequent or unusual items. The Company’s computation of FFO may not be comparable to FFO reported by other REITs that do not define the term in accordance with the current NAREIT definition or have a different interpretation of the current NAREIT definition from that of the Company; therefore, caution should be exercised when comparing our Company’s FFO to that of other REITs.
We define AFFO as FFO excluding the effects of straight-line rent, amortization of lease inducement, effective interest income and deferred income from unconsolidated joint ventures. GAAP requires rental revenues related to non-contingent leases that contain specified rental increases over the life of the lease to be recognized evenly over the life of the lease. This method results in rental income in the early years of a lease that is higher than actual cash received, creating a straight-line rent receivable asset included in our consolidated balance sheet. At some point during the lease, depending on its terms, cash rent payments exceed the straight-line rent which results in the straight-line rent receivable asset decreasing to zero over the remainder of the lease term. Effective interest method, as required by GAAP, is a technique for calculating the actual interest rate for the term of a mortgage loan based on the initial origination value. Similar to the accounting methodology of straight-line rent, the actual interest rate is higher than the stated interest rate in the early years of the mortgage loan thus creating an effective interest receivable asset included in the interest receivable line item in our consolidated balance sheet and reduces down to zero when, at some point during the mortgage loan, the stated interest rate is higher than the actual interest rate. By excluding the non-cash portion of rental income, interest income from mortgage loans and income from unconsolidated joint ventures, investors, analysts and our management can compare AFFO between periods. Normalized AFFO represents AFFO adjusted for non-recurring, infrequent or unusual items.
We define FAD as AFFO excluding the effects of non-cash compensation charges, capitalized interest and non-cash interest charges. FAD is useful in analyzing the portion of cash flow that is available for distribution to stockholders. Investors, analysts and the Company utilize FAD as an indicator of common dividend potential. The FAD payout ratio, which represents annual distributions to common shareholders expressed as a percentage of FAD, facilitates the comparison of dividend coverage between REITs. Normalized FAD represents FAD adjusted for non-recurring, infrequent or unusual items.
While the Company uses FFO, Normalized FFO, AFFO, Normalized AFFO, FAD and Normalized FAD as supplemental performance measures of our cash flow generated by operations and cash available for distribution to stockholders, such measures are not representative of cash generated from operating activities in accordance with GAAP, and are not necessarily indicative of cash available to fund cash needs and should not be considered an alternative to net income available to common stockholders.
The Company measures credit strength both in terms of leverage ratios and coverage ratios. Leverage ratios and coverage ratios are widely used by investors, analysts and rating agencies in the valuation, comparison, rating and investment recommendations of companies. Leverage ratios include debt to gross asset value and debt to enterprise value. The leverage ratios indicate how much of our consolidated balance sheet capitalization is related to long term obligations. Coverage ratios are based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), which is a financial measure not derived in accordance with GAAP. Coverage ratios include interest coverage ratio, which is EBITDA divided by total interest incurred, and fixed charge coverage ratio, which is EBITDA divided by fixed charges. Fixed charges include total interest incurred and preferred stock dividends. The coverage ratios indicate our ability to service interest and fixed charges.
EBITDA is not an alternative to net income, operating income, income from continuing operations or cash flows from operating activities as calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. You should not rely on EBITDA as a substitute for any such GAAP financial measures or consider it in isolation, for the purpose of analyzing our financial performance, financial position or cash flows. Net income is the most directly comparable GAAP measure to EBITDA. Normalized EBITDA represents EBITDA adjusted for non-recurring, infrequent or unusual items.