Washington Real Estate Investment's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRE)

Q1 2012 Results Earnings Call

April 27, 2012 11:00 AM ET


Kelly Shiflett – Director, Finance

Skip McKenzie – President and Chief Executive Officer

Bill Camp – Executive Vice President and CFO

Laura Franklin – EVP and Chief Accounting and Administrative Officer

Mike Paukstitus – Senior Vice President, Real Estate


John Guinee – Stifel Nicolaus

Michael Knott – Green State Advisors

Dave Rodgers – RBC Capital Markets

Mitch Germain – JMP Securities

Dave AuBuchon – Robert W. Baird

Michael Knott – Green Street Advisors

Bill Crow – Raymond James



Welcome to the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. As a reminder, today’s call is being recorded. Before turning over the call to the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Skip McKenzie; Kelly Shiflett, Director of Finance will provide some introductory information.

Ms. Shiflett, please go ahead.

Kelly Shiflett

Thank you and good morning, everyone. After the market closed yesterday, we issued our earnings press release. If there is anyone on the call who would like a copy of the release, please contact me at 301-984-9400 or you may access the document from our website at www.writ.com. Our first quarter supplemental financial information is also available on our website.

Our conference call today will contain financial measures such as core FFO and NOI that are non-GAAP measures, and in accordance with Reg G, we have provided reconciliation to those measures in the supplemental. The per share information being discussed on today’s call is reported on a fully diluted share basis.

Please bear in mind that certain statements during this call are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially.

We provide a detailed discussion of these risks from time to time in our filings with the SEC. Please refer to pages eight through 15 of our Form 10-K for our complete risk factor disclosures.

Participating in today’s call with me will be Skip McKenzie, President and Chief Executive Officer; Bill Camp, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Laura Franklin, Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting and Administrative Officer; and Mike Paukstitus, Senior Vice President, Real Estate.

Now, I’d like to turn the call over to Skip.

Skip McKenzie

Thanks, Kelly. Good morning. And thank you for joining the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust first quarter earnings conference call. Office leasing conditions throughout the Washington region in the first quarter were soft, as continued uncertainty over the federal budget affected decision-making in all submarkets.

Irrespective of whose first quarter market stats you follow, all show negative absorption for our region as some government users moved to BRAC facilities, while others downsized and private businesses delayed decision making.

Despite this downdraft, we are seeing very good activity in our downtown vacancies, particularly and we expect gains and occupancy in our D.C. office buildings in the quarters ahead. We recently executed a 22,000-square-feet lease to fill a former vacancy at 2000 M Street and I’m confident we will materially add to this progress over the next quarter.

As we have disclosed in prior quarters, Oracle, formerly known as Sun Microsystems, vacated 65,000 square feet at 7900 Westpark, which had a material impact on sequential quarter vacancy numbers in the office sector.

Our other three sectors are performing well and should continue to perform well, as the year progresses. In multifamily, our occupancies remain high, and we expect to drive rental rate growth throughout the balance of the year.

In retail, we have excellent leasing activity in both small and medium box spaces and expect occupancy to grow slowly over the course of the year, as well as rental rate growth upon rollover.

In the medical office sector, conditions are stable but users continue to view the future healthcare reform with caution, so stopping up vacancy in this sector is somewhat slow.

As we mentioned last quarter, this year we plan to continue our asset recycling program, focusing on selling non-core, primarily suburban office buildings that no longer fit into a long-term vision, and reinvesting those proceeds to help fund future acquisitions. This plan applies to a small subset of our portfolio, representing less than 10% of NOI.

Currently -- we currently have Plumtree, small medical office building in Bel Air, Maryland on the market for sale and we are evaluating other potential disposition candidates in the office sector.

We are working hard to source acquisition and development deals that fit our strategy of owning high-quality office multifamily retail medical office properties and excellent locations inside the Beltway or near major transportation nodes, and in areas with high employment drivers.

The first two months of 2012 were slow by historical standards, but we have seen a significant uptick in offerings beginning in March. We are working diligently on several potential acquisitions, but nothing’s firm at this time.

Our two apartment joint venture projects are progressing on schedule and we still anticipate breaking ground by the beginning of 2013 for both developments which will total 433 units upon completion.

Now I’d like to turn the call over to Bill Camp, who will discuss our financial results, guidance and capital market activities, and then to Mike Paukstitus, who will discuss our real estate operations.

Bill Camp

Thanks Skip. Good morning, everyone. Last night we reported first quarter core FFO of $0.47 per share, in line with where we were in the fourth quarter despite losing occupancy in our office portfolio. NOI was flat in the fourth quarter to first quarter, with occupancy losses in office offset by expense savings in retail.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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