IStar's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

iStar Financial Inc. (SFI)

Q1 2012 Results Earnings Call

April 27, 2012 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Jason Fooks – Vice President, Investor Relations and Marketing

Jay Sugarman – Chairman and CEO

David DiStaso – Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Michael Kim – CRT Capital Group

Josh Barber – Stifel Nicolaus

Jonathan Feldman – Nomura Securities

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. And welcome to iStar Financial’s First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)

As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded. At this time for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the conference over to Jason Fooks, Vice President of Investor Relations and Marketing. Please go ahead, sir.

Jason Fooks

Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today to review iStar Financial’s first quarter 2012 earnings report. With me today are Jay Sugarman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and David DiStaso, our Chief Financial Officer.

This morning’s call is being webcast on our website at istarfinancial.com in the Investor Relations section. There will be a replay of the call beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time today. The dial-in for the replay is 1-800-475-6701 with a confirmation code of 244393.

Before I turn the call over to Jay, I’d like to remind everyone that statements in this earnings release -- earnings call which are not historical facts will be forward-looking. iStar Financials actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements and the risk factors that could cause these differences are detailed in our SEC reports. In addition, as stated more fully in our SEC reports, iStar disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as expressly required by law.

Now, I’d like to turn the call over to iStar’s Chairman and CEO, Jay Sugarman. Jay?

Jay Sugarman

Thanks, Jason, and thanks for joining us on the call this morning. Our first quarter continued many of the themes from the previous quarter, we continued paid down debt, extend debt maturities, make additional investments to maximum the value in our real estate portfolio.

Many parts of the portfolio showed steady progress and asset in the reposition for-sale residential portfolio in particular are beginning to register steady gain. These gains are offset to some extend however by weakness in retail and European assets.

Our goal throughout 2012 will be to continue paying down outstanding debt and improving our asset positioning, as we begin preparing for the next step in aligning our assets and liabilities on the long-term basis.

Earnings story continues to reflect this transition period, performing loans, net leased assets, stabilized own real estate and certain strategic investments continue to carry most if not all the debt service and overhead of the company. Our non-performing loans and real estate assets that have not yet stabilized, generate losses in impairment that create a negative weight on earnings.

As a result, we reported a net loss of $55 million for the quarter, but excluding depreciation and non-cash provisions, impairments and gains, results were close to breakeven for the quarter at negative $7 million.

The balance sheet was also strengthen by the $880 million 2012 secured financing we closed in March and the continued deleveraging of the 2011 secured financing facility. The new facility extending debt maturities more closely match the duration of the underlying assets, completes the second phase of our long-term financing strategy, and our goal remained use of mix secured and unsecured debt to fund our business.

New investments were limited this quarters as we focused on our debt execution, we found a few places to deploy capital at attractive rate return and continue to invest our interest in LNR property.

And with that quick update, let me turn it over to Dave for more of the detail.

David DiStaso

Thanks Jay, and good morning, everyone. I’ll begin by discussing our financial results for the first quarter 2012, before moving to investment activity and credit quality. And I’ll finish with an update on liquidity.

For the quarter, we reported a net loss of $55 million or a loss of $0.66 per diluted common share, compared to net income of $67 million or $0.71 per diluted common share for the first quarter 2011. Year-over-year decrease was primarily due to lower gains from the early extinguishment of debt of $2 million recognized this quarter versus $107 million for the same period last year.

Increased interest expense and higher provisions for loan losses and impairments. This was partially offset by increased earnings from equity method investments and income from sales of residential property.

Prior to the effects of depreciation, loan loss provisions and impairments, and gains on early extinguishment of debt, all of which are non-cash items. We reported a net loss for the quarter of $7 million, compared to a net loss of $5 million for the first quarter 2011.

Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter was $95 million, compared to $90 million for the same period last year. The year-over-year improvement was due to increases in earnings from equity method investments and income from sales of residential property, partially offset by lower revenue from a smaller overall asset base.

As previously announced, during the quarter we entered into a new $880 million senior secured credit agreement providing for two tranches of term loans, a $410 million 2012 A-1 tranche due March 2016 and a $470 million 2012 A-2 tranche due March 2017.

Structure of the new facility is very similar to the structure of the facility we closed last year. Outstanding borrowings under the new financing are collateralized by a lien on a fixed pool collateral initially comprised of approximately $1.1 billion of assets.

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