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TheStreet Open House

Ashford Hospitality Trust's CEO Hosts Analyst/Investor Day (Transcript)

Our platform has a strong cover dividend. We pay about 5% plus dividend. We think that's very competitive when the highest of our peers and it is covered and we think in this environment there's more and more attention paid to so called hard assets, investing in real estate which of course this is and in assets that produce income. What's the expression SIRP, I think it's Safety Income at a Reasonable Price and we think that Ashford qualifies that and so that's an advantage in this marketplace and has great inflation hedge for those of you that are concerned about inflation and what the Fed might do with this constant easing.

We have the ability to raise prices daily. So it’s a great asset class to be in during inflationary times. We think that we have got the right capital structure for this part of the cycle. Our capital structure is about 55% debt to assets. We are very comfortable with that as a private company before we were public, we routinely ran at 70% to 75% with no problems, most of private equity funds ran much higher than that. We are higher levered than our peers in the public arena, but lower levered than almost anybody else in the industry. But we think that that level is fine. We just went through the financial crisis and came out of it as good or better than all of our peers.

I think everyone of our peers issued massive amounts of equity. We bought back half our stock. So while there's concern about leverage by some people we think our level is perfectly appropriate. In this part of the cycle we think it's great advantage because as EBITDA increases then you get the benefits of that leverage. Another point that I think is very important that we want you to walk away with and it's that all of our debt is non-recourse debt and it's in a variety of pools secured by different pockets of assets and the way to look at is to look at our portfolio as we call it portfolio A and portfolio B.

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