Corporate Office Properties Trust ( OFC) Q4 2011 Earnings Call February 9, 2012 11:00 am ET Executives Stephanie Krewson - VP, IR Rand Griffin - CEO Roger Waesche - President Steve Riffee - EVP & CFO Steve Budorick - EVP & COO Wayne Lingafelter - President, COPT Development & Construction Services Analysts Craig Mailman - KeyBanc Capital Markets Michael Knott - Green Street Advisors Joshua Attie - Citi Dave Rogers - RBC Capital John Guinee - Stifel Jamie Feldman - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Brendan Maiorana - Wells Fargo Rich Anderson - BMO Capital Markets Paul D. Puryear - Raymond James Chris Lucas - Robert W. Baird Presentation Operator
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Before turning the call over to management, let me remind all of you that certain statements made during this call regarding anticipated operating results and future events are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although such statements and projections are based up on what we believe to be reasonable assumptions, actual results may differ from those projected.Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, include, without limitation, the ability to renew or release space under favorable terms, regulatory changes, changes in the economy, the successful and timely completion of dispositions, acquisitions and development projects, changes in interest rates and other risks associated with the commercial real estate business as detailed in our filings with the SEC. I would now like to turn the call over to Rand for his formal remarks. Rand Griffin Thank you, Stephanie and good morning everyone. As you are all aware last September the Board approved my retirement effective March 31st of this year. So this is my final earnings call with COPT. I’ve had a leadership role at COPT and its predecessor companies for over 18 years and will remain on the board of trusties. While the past few years have been challenging, our record over the past 13 years as a publicly traded company places us close to the top of all office REITs in terms of total shareholder return. During that timeframe I have enjoyed my interactions with all of you. It’s been my distinct honor to serve the board and our shareholders and to build and lead such an exceptional team. Together, we’ve devised a strategy niche unique among REITs that serves the specialized needs of the US government focused on cyber security and intelligence and the defense contractors serving those functions. These tenants and the missions they carry are critical to our nation’s safety. So although the Department of Defense is facing budgetary cuts, we’re confident that agencies and contractors focused on the cyber security and intelligence aspects of national security will emerge relatively unscathed. Furthermore although COPT’s unique tenant niche has recently been out of favor due to the Washington DC morass. We remain confident that this strategic niche will provide outstanding growth opportunities for COPT over the long term.
During the past 12 months, our management team and the board have made a lot of tough strategic decisions. We felt that it was important as a team to get these decisions behind us so that COPT could move ahead into 2012 with a clean slate and the best opportunity for success. I know that I am leaving the day to day management of COPT in the capable hands of Roger and the team that we have built.I am confident that you will see COPT continue to perform the next years, regaining the confidence of investors as the best-in-class office REIT. Now I will turn the call over to Roger. Roger Waesche Thank you, Rand. 2011 was yet another year of challenges and the year of transition owing to the weak economic recovery and a continuing resolution that lasted beyond many people’s expectations. Our 2011 FFO per share as adjusted for comparability was $2.17 or 8% below the $2.36 of FFO per share we achieved in 2010. But 2011 was also a year of positioning for future success. The difficult operating environment precipitated a reevaluation of the company’s strengths and some difficult, but necessary strategic choices were made. The strategic repositioning included first, we are resetting the portfolio through the commitment to sell $562 million of assets in our strategic reallocation plan or SRP in order to decrease our exposure to non-strategic assets in markets. Second, I have curtailed our development pipeline until such time as demand for new space that each project merits new construction. In the meantime, our development team headed by Wayne is making sure that entitlements and permits remain intact so that we can be first to market when the time is right. And lastly, we have cut the dividend by 33% beginning with the first quarter of 2012. Cutting the dividend was a capital allocation decision that enables COPT to retain over $40 million of free cash flow each year which will improve the company’s financial flexibility. As you read in this morning’s press release, we are reiterating our 2012 FFO per share guidance with a range of $2.02 to $2.18. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com