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First Industrial Realty Trust CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Our same store NOI on a cash basis turned positive this quarter, the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008. Excluding termination fees, same store NOI was positive 2.7%. Looking at the overall state of demand, the US industrial market delivered its fifth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption and we continue to see leasing activity across nearly all of our markets.

But we have seen some prospects be more deliberate in committing the space as they accept all the headline news such as Europe, US budget debates, the volatility of the stock market and the related impact on consumer confidence as seen in Tuesday’s report. Hopefully, today’s news of the European accord, as well as the GDP number, will give this business community some renewed conviction.

Our rental rates changed during the quarter with minus 10.8%, in line with our forecast reflecting the impact of the turnover of lease to sign in years where market rates were higher. As we have in the past, we continue to be focused on achieving higher rental rate bumps. Escalations on long-term leases commencing in the quarter averaged 4.2% annually. We also continued to keep lease term shorter as the average term with 3.9 years for lease is greater than 12 months compared to our portfolio average of 5.9 years.

Regarding dispositions of non-strategic assets, we are on target toward our $100 million goal for 2011, with $74.2 million of total sales completed through September 30th. Third quarter sales totaled $43.2 million, comprised of 12 buildings for $23.7 million or $24 per square foot, and one land parcel for $19.5 million.

During the quarter, we also disposed of a property with a book value of $3.2 million through a deed in lieu transaction. In total, third quarter dispositions exceeded their written down book value by approximately 20%. More importantly, the in-place yield on this $43.2 million of sales was less than 2%. Importantly, our sales are having an impact on improving the overall quality of our portfolio.

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