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

CommonWealth REIT (CWH)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 01:00 pm ET


Tim Bonang - VP, IR

Adam Portnoy - President and Managing Trustee

John Popeo - CFO


Mitch Germain - JMP Securities

Dave Rodgers - RBC Capital Markets

John Guinee - Stifel



Ladies and Gentlemen good day and welcome to the CommonWealth REIT first quarter conference call. This call is being recorded. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to the Vice President of Investor Relations, Mr. Tim Bonang. Please go ahead, sir.

Tim Bonang

Thank you and good afternoon. Joining on today’s call are Adam Portnoy, President and Managing Trustee and John Popeo, Chief Financial Officer.

The agenda for today’s call includes a presentation by management followed by a question-and-answer session. I would also note that the recording and retransmission of today’s conference call is strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of CommonWealth.

Before we begin today’s call, I would like to read our Safe Harbor statement. Today’s conference call contains forward-looking statements within meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other securities laws. These forward-looking statements are based on CommonWealth’s present beliefs and expectations as of today, May 3 rd, 2012.

The company undertakes no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to the forward-looking statements made in today’s conference call other than through filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC regarding this reporting period.

In addition, this call may contain non-GAAP numbers including funds from operations or FFO, normalized FFO and cash available for distribution or CAD. A reconciliation of FFO, normalized FFO and CAD to net income is available in our supplemental package found in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website.

Actual results may differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause those differences is contained in our Form 10-Q which we expect to file in a few days with the SEC and in our Q1 supplemental operating and financial data package found on our website at

Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements.

And now, I would like to turn the call over to Adam Portnoy.

Adam Portnoy

Thank you, Tim. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us on today's call. I want to begin today's call by summarizing the recently completed initial public offering of our former wholly-owned subsidiary Select Income REIT or SIR. On March 12, SIR issued 9.2 million common shares as part of its IPO and CommonWealth used proceeds it received in connection with the IPO to repay debt. Today CommonWealth continues to own 22 million or 70.5% of SIR's common shares and it is expected that we will continue to own a majority of SIR's outstanding common shares for this foreseeable future.

SIR now owns substantially all of CommonWealth's commercial and industrial properties located in Oahu, Hawaii as well as 23 suburban office and industrial properties located throughout the US. As I mentioned on our last call SIR intends to primarily own and invest in net leased single tenant properties and CommonWealth will continue its efforts to reposition its portfolio into high-value CBD office properties.

Because of our retained interest in SIR exceeds 50% we continue to consolidate SIR's financial position and results in our consolidated financial statements. For the first quarter of 2012, we are reporting fully diluted normalized FFO of $0.90 per share compared to $0.85 per share during the same period last year. First quarter 2012 normalized FFO includes approximately $3 million or about $.03 per share of non-recurring items which John Popeo will discuss in more detail in a few moments.

Excluding this non-recurring items normalized FFO for the first quarter would have been about $0.87 per share and this increase in normalized FFO per share compared to the same period last year is primarily the result of increased occupancy and the growth in same-store NOI. You're definitely starting to see some positive signs in our consolidated operating metrics especially in our CBD office and industrial portfolios which represent a combined 66% of our consolidated NOI.

Suburban office continues to be our weakest operating segment and it currently represents about 34% of our NOI. As of March 31 st, our consolidated occupancy rate was 84.8% which is 20 basis points higher than our 84.6% occupancy rate on December 31. Our occupancy rate for our wholly-owned properties which excludes results from SIR was 80.6% as of March 31.

During the quarter, we signed over 150 individual leases or 1.9 million ft.² And continuing the trend we started seeing in the second half of 2011, over half of our leasing activity was for new leases in second generation office space. Unfortunately the largest component of this new leases occurred in our suburban office portfolio which are often expensive leases for us to enter with low net effect difference.

Overall leasing activity this quarter resulted in an 80% decline in rents. Excluding leasing activities in our suburban office portfolio leases signed this quarter resulted in flat or no change in rents. Capital cost commitments associated with leasing activity this quarter was $19.39 per square foot or about $3.08 per lease year.

Importantly the amount of capital cost commitments per year declined about 13% sequentially from the last quarter. Also it is important to note that we have increased our disclosure this quarter by including free rent and tenant concessions in addition to tenant improvements and leasing costs and the calculation of leasing cost commitments for signed leases during the quarter.

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