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First up is $28 billion self-storage REIT
Public Storage (
PSA). Public Storage owns around 140 million square feet of leasable storage space spread across 38 states here in the U.S. as well as in parts of Western Europe. That's around 2,400 storage facilities all together, making it the largest storage firm of its type anywhere.
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There's a lot of value in PSA's brand. Because the items stored at PSA's facilities are inherently valuable (they must be worth something for customers to bother storing them), customers are more likely to weigh a brand's reputation before securing space. Public Storage's huge scale gives it advertising and reputational advantages that smaller rivals can't match. Demand remains high for storage facilities, especially thanks to the ongoing flux in the residential real estate market; since homeowners who traded down or prolonged home buying decisions in the wake of 2008 move, PSA should maintain a solid stream of customers.
The real estate business is capital intense, but PSA's strategy of financing its facilities with equity instead of debt has helped to keep the firm's finances solid. Even preferred equity provides much more flexibility than bonds would, and with rates held low for so long, capital is cheap. Currently, Public Storage pays out a 3.4% dividend yield.