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Duke Realty CEO Discusses Q1 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Denny Oklak

Thank you Randy, good afternoon everyone and welcome to Duke Reality's first quarter earnings call. Today, I will address our view on the state of business and some of the drivers affecting real estate demand, I will also highlight some of our key accomplishments during the quarter in both our assets and operations strategies. Christie will address our first quarter financial performance and progress on our capital strategy.

The first quarter was solid from an operation prospective and in the execution on our asset repositioning strategy. The end of 2010 provided significant moment for us with the announcement of both the acquisition of the premier portfolio in South Florida and the transaction with CBRE Realty Trust. I am pleased to announce that both transactions are now fully complete.

The first quarter of 2011 started somewhat slow with continued concerns over the pace of the economic recovery and whether any near-term meaningful traction to be sustained. A combination of the political events taking place in the Middle Eastern country and concerns over weak growth estimates for the US and other key countries also affected leasing activity.

Another key factor during the first two months of the quarter was the severe winter weather conditions we experienced in many of our markets. At various times during the quarter our Dallas, Atlanta, St Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus offices were closed because of inclement weather. We know now that the combination of all these factors led to a slowdown in growth in GDP to 1.8% in the first quarter. We certainly can feel the slowdown.

The good news is that now we are beginning to see somewhat of a pickup in activity as companies review their business forecasts and their plans for potential space needs. We said in January that our outlook remained somewhat conservative on the industrial sector. We are seeing more visits to view available space, the timing of these users, making a commitment to lease additional space is still unclear but at least it is encouraging to see people back in the market.

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