CBL & Associates Properties CEO Discusses Q2 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (CBL)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 27, 2012 11:00 am ET


Stephen Lebovitz - President and Chief Executive Officer

Katie Reinsmidt - VP - Corporate Communications & Investor Relations

John Foy - Vice-Chairman, Chief Financial Officer


Christy McElroy - UBS

Paul Morgan - Morgan Stanley

Jeffrey Donnelly - Wells Fargo Securities

Todd Thomas - KeyBanc Capital Markets

Nathan Isbee - Stifel Nicolaus

Michael Mueller - JPMorgan

Carol Kemple - Hilliard Lions

Michael Bilerman - Citi

Richard Moore - RBC Capital Markets

Cedrik Lachance - Green Street Advisors

Andrew Rosivach - Goldman Sachs



Welcome to the CBL & Associates Properties, Inc Second Quarter 2012 Conference Call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Friday, July 27, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Stephen Lebovitz, President and CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

Stephen Lebovitz

Thank you and good morning. We appreciate your participation in the CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. conference call to discuss second quarter results.

Joining me today is, John Foy, CBL's Chief Financial Officer; and Katie Reinsmidt, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, who will begin by reading our Safe Harbor disclosure.

Katie Reinsmidt

This conference call contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Such statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. Future events and actual results, financial and otherwise, may differ materially from the events and results discussed in the forward-looking statements. We direct you to the company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation, the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

During our discussion today references made to per share amounts are based on a fully diluted converted share basis. During this call, the company may discuss non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G.

A reconciliation of each non-GAAP financial measure to the comparable GAAP financial measure will be included in the earnings release that is furnished on Form 8-K along with a transcript of today's comments and additional supplemental schedules.

This call will also be available for replay on the Internet through a link on our website at cblproperties.com.

Stephen Lebovitz

Thank you, Katie. We are pleased to report another strong quarter headlined by very positive operational results at our portfolio of market-dominant properties.

FFO per share increased 6% to $0.53 beating the most recent consensus estimate of $0.49 per share. Same-center NOI grew by 2.7%, occupancy increased to 180-basis point and leasing spreads by 10.2%. As a result, we have raised our guidance for the year for same-center NOI growth to 1% to 2%, and FFO to a range of $2.00 to $2.10 per share.

Our improved performance reflects the more robust retail demand we are experiencing in our portfolio. Sales growth year-to-date has been encouraging as well at 4.3%. This coupled with improved occupancy allows us to generate higher rents and better lease terms in retailer negotiations and improve the productivity of our portfolio going forward.

We spent a lot of time this quarter meeting with our retail partners. The ICSC RECon in Las Vegas this May, was up roughly 10% in attendance, and we experienced a similar increase in a number of meetings at our booth.

Overall, our meetings were positive and we were able to effectively follow-up on pending deals with our own leasing conference in June, which we call connection. Approximately 145 retailers attendant connection here in Chattanooga, which is the best turnout in 16 years that we have held this conference.

We had nearly a dozen new companies represented, including Francesca's, Firebirds Restaurants, Pandora and Godiva to name just a few. Connection is a great opportunity for us to make deals and also to strengthen our retailer relationships with key deal makers that visit us over the three days of the event.

Recently, we welcomed several new stores to the CBL portfolio, opening our first Lego and Microsoft, at Oak Park mall in Kansas City, Kansas, as well as Armani Exchange at Mall del Norte Laredo, Texas. The store has experienced strong openings and we are pursuing discussions for additional locations in CBL Malls. We also celebrated the grand opening of our fifth Apple Store at CoolSprings Galleria in Nashville.

Stabilized mall occupancy improved during the quarter by 180 basis points, increasing to 92.3%. Total portfolio occupancy experienced a similar improvement increasing a 170 basis points to 92.3%. We only have one property The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City in the new mall category at this time and that property is 100% leased.

We are very pleased with the progress in leasing spreads this quarter. We showed strength across both, new and renewal leasing. Overall leases for stabilized malls during the quarter were signed at 10.2% increase over the prior year gross rent per square foot.

Renewal leasing spreads increased 9.5% over the prior gross rents and new leases were signed at a 13.2% increase over prior gross rents. The improvement in renewal spreads is encouraging, and coupled with our occupancy increases demonstrates the strengthening of our properties as demand improves and new supply remains constricted.

During the quarter, we commenced construction on the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta. With just over a year until the grand opening, the 370,000-square foot project is approximately 72% leased or committed with the first-class line up of retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike, Levi's, Brooks Brothers, Converse, and Cole Haan. Similar to The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, this project is being developed in 75:25 joint-venture with the Horizon Group.

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