Brandywine Realty Trust's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Brandywine Realty Trust (BDN)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 26, 2012 09:00 a.m. ET


Gerry Sweeny – President, Chief Executive Officer & Treasurer

George Johnston – Senior Vice President Operations & Asset Management

Gabriel Mainardi – Chief Accounting Officer, Vice President & Treasurer

Howard M. Sipzner – Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President

Thomas Wirth – Executive Vice President Portfolio Management & Investments


James Feldman – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Josh Attie – Citigroup

Jordan Sadler – Keybanc Capital Markets

John Guinee – Stifel Nicolaus

Richard Anderson – BMO Capital Market

David Rogers – RBC Capital Market

Michael Knott – Green Street Advisors

Steve Sakwa – ISI Group

Young Ku – Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Ross Nussbaum – UBS



Good morning, my name Letangie [ph] and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Brandywine Realty Trust First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent anybody background noise. After the speaker’s remarks there will be a question and answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Gerry Sweeny, President and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. Please go ahead sir.

Gerry Sweeny

Letangie thank you very much. Good morning everyone and thank you for participating in our first quarter 2012 earnings call. On today’s call with me are George Johnstone, our Senior Vice President Operations, Gabe Mainardi, our Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Howard Sipzner, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Tom Wirth, our Executive Vice President of Portfolio Management and Investments.

Prior to beginning I would like to remind everyone that certain information discussed during our call may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities Law. Although we believe the estimates reflected in these statements are based on reasonable assumptions, we cannot give assurance that anticipated results will be achieved. For further information on factors that could impact our anticipated results, please reference our press release as well as our most recent annual and quarterly reports filed with the SEC.

The first quarter was a solid continuation of the momentum we built in 2011. My comments will provide an overview on our three key focal areas of operations, balance sheet management and investments. George and Howard will then discuss our operating and financial results in more detail and certainly Tom and Gabe are available to answer any other questions.

First, an overall observation. General economic uncertainty we see every day is moderating the pace of the office market recovery. One day the news is good, the next day not so much. However, the challenge [inaudible] remains positive and based on what we see at least in our markets, the office market recovery is certainly continuing. Vacancy rates continue to decline in most of our markets. First quarter leasing activity in most of our markets was lower than in the fourth quarter of 2011, but generally as expected.

Leasing remained our number one priority and market data supports continued confidence in our business plan. Several of our markets continue to have a tenant driven pricing dynamic, but in other markets we see encouraging signs of rental rate growth. Across the board, in all of our markets, we are still benefiting from a flight up the quality curve as our product is at the top end of the available inventory.

Our leasing approach remains tactical, that is in some markets we are increasing rates, lengthening lease terms and creating downward pressure on capital concessions. This approach is working well in Austin, Philadelphia CBD and in Crescent markets in the Pennsylvania suburbs.

In other markets were we’re accelerating absorption through aggressively gaining market share, results along these lines remain measurable and positive. And in these markets, particularly in New Jersey and Northern Virginia, while we recognize we have marginal current pricing power, we are well positioned to achieve above market absorption levels and position those portfolios for long term growth.

Our watchword remains aggressive pursuit of tenants with the goal of meeting all of our business plan targets. Based on our year-to-date activity and forward pipeline, as evidence of our confidents we did increase our 2012 speculative revenue target by 2% and year-to-date we’ve achieved 80% of this new annual target.

Looking at the quarter, we had good leasing benchmarks and solid operating metrics. Most notably, our pipeline of transactions which we defined is prospects of an issued proposals remains consistent 3.4 million square feet.

The number and square footage of prospects touring or inquiring about our properties during the quarter averaged 37 companies and 400,000 square feet per week. For the quarter, these numbers were 26% greater than in the fourth quarter of 2011. So while general market activity leasing levels were generally down, we had a very good quarter of tenant inquires and inspections evidencing from our standpoint continued emergence of tenant demand and as previously mentioned flight the quality product and landlords.

Our goal of having positive same-store growth for 2011 remains on track, mark-to-market leasing spreads were consistent with our 2012 business plan albeit lower for the quarter particularly on a cash basis than our target of run rate for the year. For the balance of the year, we expect better forward leasing spread based upon the position of our projected leasing activity.

Concession package remained fairly steady, where we’re seeing higher capital cost we’re attempting to mitigate that through extended lease terms. Our TI cost for the quarter were in line with our business plan assumptions but continue to be an area of heightened focus.

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