Taubman's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Taubman Centers, Inc. (TCO)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 27, 2012; 10:00 am ET


Robert Taubman - Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Payne - Vice Chairman & Chief Financial Officer

Barbara Baker - Vice President, Investor Relations


Christine McElroy - UBS

Quentin Velleley - Citi

Paul Morgan - Morgan Stanley Research

Todd Thomas - KeyBanc Capital Markets

Mike Mueller - J.P. Morgan

Alex Goldfarb - Sandler O'Neill

Vincent Chao - Deutsche Bank

Cedrik La Chance - Green Street Advisors

Samit Parikh - ISI Group



Thank you for holding and welcome to the Taubman Centers’ second quarter earnings conference call. The call will begin with prepared remarks and then we will open the line to questions.

On the call today will be Robert Taubman, Taubman Centers’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Lisa Payne, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, and Barbara Baker, Vice President of Investor Relations.

Now, I will turn the call over to Barbara for opening remarks.

Barbara Baker

Thank you Martina and welcome everyone to our second quarter conference call. Yesterday we released our second quarter results and our supplemental information package; both are available on our website.

As you know, during this conference call, we will make forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance, although actual results may differ materially. Please see our SEC filings, including our latest 10-K and subsequent reports for a discussion of various risks and uncertainties underlying our forward-looking statements.

During this call we will also discuss non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation-G. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the comparable GAAP financial measures are included in our earnings release and in our supplemental information.

In addition, a replay of the call is provided through a link on the Investor Relations section of our website. When we get to questions, we ask that you limit them to two and then if you have more, queue up again. That way everyone has the opportunity to ask a question.

Now, let me turn the call over to Bobby.

Robert Taubman

Thanks Barbara and welcome everyone to our call. This was another strong quarter with outstanding fundamentals. NOI, up 8.2%, now up 8.8% for the first six months of the year. Sales per square foot up 8.4% for the quarter and 12 month trailing sales up 12% to a record $672. FFO, average rents per square foot and occupancy, all substantially up and we continue to make significant progress on our external growth initiatives.

First lets talk about sales. Sales per square foot climbed 8.4% for the quarter, a solid result. As we said all along, trees don’t grow to the sky and our streak of nine quarters of double-digit sales increases has come to an end. Nonetheless, we’ve always felt that the sales momentum, absent a significant external event would not fall off a cliff; 8% growth, while less than our nine-quarter trend is still a terrific number. We wouldn’t be surprised if over the next several quarters sales growth would continue to moderate.

Unisex apparel, shoes, beauty, electronics, gifts and home furnishings were particularly strong in the quarter. Fast food is increasing nicely, an indication of foot traffic. Harvard (ph) junior apparel and Fine Jewelry were little softer. We are seeing great performance at Louis Vuitton, Bath & Body, Victoria's Secret, Pink, American Eagle, H&M, Foot Locker, Oakley, Apple, Restoration Hardware, Z Gallerie and Zales; all up in the double digits. This is very positive for our leasing efforts.

Retailers’ sentimental leasing activity remains strong. Comp Center NIO, excluding lease cancellation income was up a solid 8.2% for the quarter. NOI growth was driven by rents and recoveries. Sponsorship income also contributed.

As you’ll recall, we reported a 9.3% increase in the first quarter, so it’s been two periods of outstanding growth. With this performance, we are raising our guidance on NIO growth to a range of 5% to 6% for the year. That’s up significantly from the 4% outlook that we communicated last quarter. This means we continue to expect NOI growth to moderate in the second half of the year.

While rent is projected as consistently good quarter-over-quarter growth throughout the year, we expect volatility and seasonality of net recoveries to reduce comparable NOI growth in the next two quarters.

On June 30, occupancy at comp centers was 90.2%. In addition, we had 4.1% occupancy in temporary tenants at comp centers, our highest level in the second quarter we’ve seen since we began tracking the statistic. This raised our total occupied space to 94.3% at June 30.

Comp center occupancy was up 200 basis points from June 30 last year and better than anticipated for this quarter. This is largely due to an unprecedented low level of unscheduled closings we’ve had to-date in 2012. Only one tenant with four stores declared bankruptcy in the quarter. We continue to believe that occupancy will be up about 150 basis points over 2011 for the rest of the year. Of course, strong occupancy favorably impacted both rent and recoveries in the quarter.

Average rent per square foot of $47.07 was up a healthy 3.8% from last year. Year-to-date average rent was up 2.7%. We continue to believe we’ll achieve our guidance of 3% rent per square foot growth for the year.

As I said, the leasing momentum at our centers is continuing. Our head of leasing resigned in early July, with our strong senior bench, coveted locations and able leadership from my brother Billy, we made a smooth transition.

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

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