RAIT's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

RAIT Financial Trust ( RAS)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 9, 2012 09:30 a.m. ET

Executives

Scott F. Schaeffer – CEO

Jack E. Salmon – CFO & Treasurer

Andres Viroslav – Director of Corporate Communications

Analysts

Gabe Poggi – FBR

Amy DeBone – Compass Point Research & Trading

Brian Gonick – Senvest

Presentation

Operator

Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2011 RAIT Financial Trust Earnings Conference Call. My name is Jasmine and I will be your coordinator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of today’s conference. (Operator Instructions) As reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today’s conference to Mr. Andres Viroslav, Director of Corporate Communications, you may proceed.

Andres Viroslav

Thank you, Jasmine and good morning to everyone. Thank you for joining us today to review RAIT Financial Trust’s fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 financial results. On the call with me today are Scott Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer; and Jack Salmon, RAIT’s Chief Financial Officer.

This morning’s call is being webcast on our website at www.raitft.com. There will be a replay of the call available via webcast on our website and telephonically beginning at approximately 11:30 AM Eastern Time today. The dial-in for the replay is 888-286-8010, with a confirmation code of 88426369.

Before I turn the call over to Scott, I would like to remind everyone that there may be forward-looking statements made in this call. These forward-looking statements reflect RAIT’s current views with respect to future events and financial performance. Actual results could differ substantially and materially from what RAIT has projected. Such statements are made in good faith pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Please refer to RAIT’s press releases and filings with the SEC for factors that could affect the accuracy of our expectations or cause our future results to differ materially from those expectations.

Participants may discuss non-GAAP financial measures in this call. A copy of RAIT’s press release containing financial information, other statistical information and a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is attached to RAIT’s most recent current report on Form 8-K, available at RAIT’s website, www.raitft.com, under Investor Relations. RAIT’s other SEC filings are also available through this link. RAIT does not undertake to update forward-looking statements in this call or with respect to matters described herein, except as may be required by law.

Now I’d like to turn the call over to RAIT’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Schaeffer. Scott?

Scott Schaeffer

Thank you very much Andres and thank all of you for joining us this morning as we present RAIT’s 2011 results. It’s for the productive quarter and year for RAIT. We are pleased to our fifth consecutive quarter of positive operating income and AFFO of $0.30 per share.

In January RAIT paid its third consecutive regularly quarterly common dividend of $0.06 per share. In the fourth quarter, we received approximately $80 million in loan repayments, we ended the year with approximately $110 million of lending capacity available to reinvest into our core loan products such bridge loans and mezzanine loans and we have $250 million of line capacity to finance our CMBS eligible loans.

During the quarter we sold $61 million of CMBS loans to a third-party securitization which resulted in the gain of $2.9 million. We also recently hired an experienced loan originator and two new underwriters to speed our origination efforts and our pipeline of lending opportunities continues to grow, it currently totals approximately $500 million.

Credit quality within our loan book remains stable as credit costs have remained low and we’ve continued to see reductions in the number of loans on non-accrual. In our directly owned real estate portfolio we’ve experienced growth in both rental income, property net operating income driven by higher rental rates mainly in our multifamily portfolio while coupled with lower property operating costs.

Our multifamily property manager, Jupiter Communities has been increasing rental rates within the stabilized multifamily properties in the portfolio, which results in a slight reduction in occupancy rate, but higher net operating income. We expect to see our occupancy rates increase during the year once the market digests these higher rental rates. And Jack will discuss our operating results in more detail shortly.

We reached our debt reduction goals for 2011, during the year we refinanced or paid off $250 million of RAIT’s recourse debt to multiple transactions and as of today we’ve less than $3.6 million in recourse debt obligations that are redeemable or mature prior to October 2015.

And finally, I’d like to comment about RAIT’s common dividend. RAIT generated $30 million in depreciation cost in 2011 and ended the year with $52 million of NOLs. For re-compliance purposes we’re not required to pay a dividend, however, the improvements in both our balance sheet and operating results along with the slowing improving macroeconomic environment gives us confidence that market challenges rate previously faced are now behind us and the potential for growth is in front of us. We believe shareholders should benefit from these improvements.

At this point, I’d like to turn the call over to Jack to provide more details on our results. Jack?

Jack Salmon

Thank you, Scott. The financial highlights for the quarter ended December 31, include a GAAP net loss of $15.6 million primarily caused by $20 million of net changes in the fair value of our liability financial instruments. Operating income of $4.3 million is compared to $1.9 million last quarter or the fourth quarter of 2010 and adjusted funds from operations of $12 million was $0.30 per common share. This is an increase of $0.14 per share over the fourth quarter last year. We’ve generated positive operating income and quarterly increases in AFFO for five consecutive quarters.

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