Douglas Emmett's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Douglas Emmett, Inc. (DEI)

Q1 2012 Earnings Conference Call

May 2, 2012 14:00 ET

Executives

Mary Jensen – Vice President, Investor Relations

Jordan Kaplan – Vice President and Chief Executive Officer

Ted Guth – Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Josh Attie

Chris Caton – Morgan Stanley

George Auerbach – ISI Group

Jamie Feldman – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Jordan Sadler – KeyBanc

Brendan Maiorana – Wells Fargo

Michael Knott – Green Street Advisors

Rob Stevenson – Macquarie

Mitch Germain – JMP Securities

Alex Goldfarb – Sandler O’Neill

Michael Bilerman – Citi

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to Douglas Emmett’s Earnings Call for 2012 First Quarter Results. Today’s call is being recorded. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow management’s prepared remarks. At that time, instructions will be provided to queue up for questions.

I would now turn the conference over to Mary Jensen, Vice President of Investor Relations for Douglas Emmett.

Mary Jensen – Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Joining us today on the call are Jordan Kaplan, our Vice President and Chief Executive Officer and Ted Guth, our Chief Financial Officer. Please note that this call is being webcast live on our website and will be available for replay for the next 90 days and by phone for the next 7 days. Our earnings package has been filed with the SEC on Form 8-K and posted to our website at douglasemmett.com.

During the course of this call, we will make forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs of, assumptions made by, and information that’s currently available to us. The actual outcome will be affected by known and unknown risks, trends, uncertainties, and factors that are beyond our control or ability to predict. Although we believe that our assumptions are reasonable, they are not guarantees of future performance, and some will inevitably prove to be incorrect. Therefore, our actual future results can be expected to differ from our expectations and those differences may be material. For a more detailed description on some potential risks, please refer to our SEC filings which can be accessed in the Investor Relations section of our website.

We may reference data in this call from some of the following sources, CB Richard Ellis for the Honolulu and Los Angeles office markets, REITs for the Los Angeles office market, MPF Research for the Los Angeles multi-family market, and Property & Portfolio Research for the Honolulu multi-family market. When we reach the question-and-answer portion in consideration of others, please limit yourselves to one question and one follow-up.

I will now turn the call over to Jordan Kaplan, President and CEO of Douglas Emmett. Jordan?

Jordan Kaplan – Vice President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mary. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us. We continue to see steady improvements in the first quarter. In our multi-family portfolio, rental rates are increasing in all submarkets while our apartments remain fully leased.

On the office side, we saw our fifth consecutive quarter of positive absorption. The almost 69,000 square feet of positive absorption we achieved in the first quarter was our best since the first quarter of 2007. Our total office leased rate now stands at 89.8% and we have begun to increase office rents in three of our submarkets, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Encino/Sherman Oaks.

I am also pleased to announce that our same property cash NOI in the first quarter of 2012 was 2.4% higher than in the first quarter of 2011. However, as we have cautioned in the past, please do not put too much emphasis on the results of any one quarter. In particular, as Ted will discuss further the higher cash NOI from the second quarter of 2011 will provide a more difficult comparison next quarter.

For all of 2012, we continue to estimate that our same-property cash NOI will be between 1% and 1.5% greater than in 2011. We already discussed the steps we took early in the first quarter to strengthen our balance sheet. We have no near term maturities and we have locked in very low interest rate for many years into the future. In addition, we have ample liquidity for acquisitions from our funds, our cash on hand, our growing operating cash flow, and our unencumbered properties.

Given our significant liquidity, we hope that 2012 provides more acquisition opportunities than we saw in 2011. While we have been working on both apartment and office opportunities in Los Angles and Honolulu, sellers have continued to be slow to come to market.

In the first quarter, we did close the acquisition of an additional 16.3% interest in one of our institutional funds for approximately $33.4 million. We now own approximately 65% of that unconsolidated fund, which in turn owns 6 properties totaling 1.4 million square feet of office space in our core submarkets as well as interest in our second unconsolidated fund and then some additional two properties. We now own approximately 23% of that second fund.

Before I turn this over to Ted, I want to make one final comment. Mary Jensen has been a critical part of our relations with the Street and our investors since our IPO. She has introduced us to many of you and provided much of the structure for our investor relations program. Even more impressive while working here full time, she has been studying for her MBA. Last month, she completed that program and graduated. She has taken an opportunity for a broader finance role at pre IPO firm. Today is her last day with us. We will miss her and we wish her all the best in the future.

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