NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. ( NRF)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

November 3, 2011 10:00 AM ET


Al Tylis – Co-President, COO and Secretary

David Hamamoto – Chairman and CEO

Debra Hess – CFO


Stephen Ross - Deutsche Bank

Joshua Barber - Stifel Nicolaus


O perator

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the NorthStar Realty Finance Third Quarter 2011 Conference Call. During today’s presentation, all parties will be in a listen-only mode and following the presentation the conference will be open for questions. (Operator Instructions) This conference is being recorded today November 3rd 2011. And I would now like to turn the conference over to Al Tylis Co-president and Chief Operating Officer for NorthStar Realty Finance. Please go ahead, sir.

Al Tylis

Thank you very much. Welcome to NorthStar’s third quarter 2011 conference call. Before the call begins, I would like to remind everyone that certain statements made in the course of this call are not based on historical information and may constitute forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and beliefs, and are subject to a number of trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.

I refer you to the company’s filings made with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the risks and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made today. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements that may be made in the course of this call.

Additionally, certain non-GAAP financial measures will be discussed on this conference. Our presentation of this information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute to the financial information presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable measures prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles can be accessed through our filings with the SEC at

With that, I’m now going to turn the call over to our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Hamamoto. David?

David Hamamoto

Thanks Al and thanks to everybody for joining us today. In addition to Al, I’m joined today by Dan Gilbert, our Co-President and Chief Investment Officer and Debra Hess our CFO.

During the third quarter, the US economy continued to grow at a slow pace due to various factors which included global issues such as the European debt crisis as well as domestic problems such as historically low consumer confidence and prolonged tie in employment, continued market volatility, which resulted in CMBS spreads widening during the put a strain on commercial real estate capital markets activity.

And new CMBS issuances is now projected to be approximately $30 billion for 2011 compared to an original projection of $40 billion. Despite macro concerns, investor interest remains strong for commercial real estate which was evident in the performance of our portfolio.

In addition we remain optimistic in the long-term US economic recovery and are well positioned to capitalize on current market opportunities and drive future growth. Throughout the year we’ve been aggressively making opportunistic investments in expanding our commercial real estate platform.

During 2011, we have completed approximately $600 million of new commercial real estate loan and other opportunistic investments utilizing both our unrestricted cash and CDO availability, which has been steadily increasing the earnings power and free cash flow to NorthStar. 25% increase in our common dividend.

We announced last night provide what we believe to be a balance between distributing additional cash flow generated by our assets while still retaining a portion for accretive new investment opportunities. In addition our liquidity position remains strong and we currently expect to have approximately $150 million of unrestricted cash at year-end before factoring in any new investments combined with a recently post $100 million credit facility for CMBS investment and another facility that we are close to finalizing.

We should have substantial dry powder to capitalize on future opportunities and continue to grow our earnings and cash flow. We’ve been making strong progress in our non-listed REIT initiatives and recent capital raising velocity has been increasing significantly.

As of today, we have over a $100 million of capital raised which is an important benchmark and clearly identifies us a leading new sponsor in the industry. It is expected that non-listed REITs will rise over $8 billion in 2011 with a large portion going to top sponsors.

We are confident in our ability to become a top sponsor in this space to generate a meaningful long-term fee stream to NorthStar. We have a broad commercial real estate platform with over $7 billion of assets which are managed by teams of skilled investment professionals overseen by a seasoned management team.

Due to our platform, we’ve been able to continue propelling forward even in volatile times and we are well positioned to grow our company over the long-term. I’d like to now turn the call over to Al who’ll give further discussions of our business strategy and objectives. Al?

Al Tylis

Thanks David. In terms of our business going forward we’ll continue to pursue opportunistic investments focused on our asset management business and strategically return to our core businesses of loan origination CMBS investing in an accretive way. We are nimble and well positioned to extract relative value in today’s volatile markets while continuing to build our franchise value focusing on long-term business objectives.

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