RioCan Announces Third Quarter Results for 2019

11/06/2019

TORONTO, Nov. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (“RioCan" or the "Trust”) today announced its financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 ("Third Quarter").

“In the Third Quarter, we continued to make great strides towards our long term strategic goals, both in terms of our major market strategy and residential strategy,” said Edward Sonshine, Chief Executive Officer of RioCan.  “With several key strategic acquisitions completed and strong leasing results for our retail and residential operations, we further solidified and proved our dominant presence in major urban markets, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. The urban, transit oriented locations of our assets, the quality of our tenant base, combined with the strength of our balance sheet and leadership team, are key factors that drive value now and will support sustainable growth long into the future.”

    Three months ended
 September 30
    Nine months ended
 September 30
(in millions except percentages, square feet and per unit values)   2019     2018     2019     2018
                       
Financial Highlights                      
Net income   $ 177.6       $ 130.3       $ 625.0       $ 378.9  
Weighted average units outstanding - diluted (in thousands)   306,280       311,687       305,317       316,629  
FFO (i)   $ 142.8       $ 147.3       $ 429.7       $ 441.8  
FFO per unit – diluted (i)   $ 0.47       $ 0.47       $ 1.41       $ 1.40  
                       
                       
Operation Highlights                      
Same property NOI growth - six major markets (i) (ii)   2.3 %     2.1 %     2.4 %     2.8 %
Same property NOI growth - overall portfolio (i) (ii)   2.1 %     1.6 %     2.0 %     2.3 %
Six major markets - % of total annualized revenue (iii)   88.7 %     84.1 %     88.7 %     84.1 %
Greater Toronto Area - % of total annualized revenue (iii)   49.5 %     45.5 %     49.5 %     45.5 %
Occupancy - committed six major markets (iii)   97.7 %     98.0 %     97.7 %     98.0 %
Occupancy - committed (iii)   97.2 %     97.0 %     97.2 %     97.0 %
Blended leasing spread   6.3 %     (0.2 )%     9.7 %     3.4 %
Renewal leasing spread   7.7 %     (1.4 )%     8.9 %     2.0 %
                       
                       
Development Highlights                      
Development completions - sq ft in thousands   51.0       264.0       412.0       501.0  
Development expenditures (iv)   $ 135.2       $ 102.8       $ 330.2       $ 322.1  
Properties under development and residential inventory as a percentage of consolidated gross book value of assets (maximum permitted: 15%) (iii) (iv)   8.8 %     9.6 %     8.8 %     9.6 %
                       
                       
Balance Sheet Strength Highlights                      
Debt to Adjusted EBITDA (i) (v)   8.07 x     7.79 x     8.07 x     7.79 x
Ratio of total debt to total assets (i) (iii) (v)   43.6 %     42.4 %     43.6 %     42.4 %
Unencumbered assets (i) (iii) (v)   $ 8,882       $ 7,917       $ 8,882       $ 7,917  
Unencumbered assets to unsecured debt (i) (iii) (v)   216 %     218 %     216 %     218 %
                       


(i)   A Non-GAAP measurement. For definitions and basis of presentation of RioCan's Non-GAAP measures, refer to the Non-GAAP Measures section in RioCan's Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019.
(ii)   Refers to same property NOI (SPNOI) growth on a year-over-year basis. Prior periods as reported; not restated to reflect current period categories. For the three months ended September 30, 2019, excluding the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless Shoe leases, same property NOI grew by 3.3% for the Trust's six major market portfolio and by 2.9% for its overall commercial portfolio, and by 3.2% and 2.8%, respectively, for the nine months ended September 30, 2019. When completed properties under development are further included in same property NOI and the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless Shoe leases are excluded, same property NOI grew by 4.9% for the Trust's six major market portfolio and by 4.4% for its overall commercial portfolio for the three months ended September 30, 2019 and by 4.5% and 3.9%, respectively, for the nine months ended September 30, 2019. Such completed developments have been owned by RioCan in the comparative periods and are generating cash rent.
(iii)   Information presented as at September 30.
(iv)   Includes costs incurred for various properties under development and for residential inventory in respective reporting periods.
(v)   At RioCan's proportionate share.

FFO Per Unit Growth and Capital Recycling

  • The Trust reported FFO per unit of $0.47 in the Third Quarter, stable from the same period last year despite $14.7 million in lower realized marketable securities gains, $1.5 million in lower capitalized interest resulting from substantial development completions and $1.3 million in higher condominium and townhouse marketing costs. The Trust’s strong operational results as reflected in same property NOI growth, higher residential inventory gains, strong leasing velocity with its residential rental development completions, and lower G&A costs are the key drivers of this result.
  • For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, FFO per unit increased by $0.01 over the same period last year to $1.41.
  • Net income increased by 36.2% and 64.9% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019, respectively, over the comparable periods primarily due to higher fair value gains on investment properties as the Trust continues to drive operational growth, improve its portfolio quality and tenant base, and unlock the intrinsic values of its portfolio.

Major Market Focus

  • The percentage of total annualized rental revenue from the six major markets and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) increased to 88.7% and 49.5% as of September 30, 2019, both up 90 basis points, respectively, from the previous quarter. These two key strategic metrics steadily progressed towards the respective >90% and >50% targets, having increased 460 and 400 basis points, respectively, when compared to September 30, 2018 as a result of same property NOI growth, substantial secondary market asset dispositions, strategic acquisitions, and 710,000 square feet of major market development completions over the past twelve months.

Same Property NOI Growth

  • Same property NOI increased by 2.3% for RioCan's six major market commercial properties while same property NOI for its secondary market commercial properties increased by 0.1%, resulting in overall same property NOI growth of 2.1% for the Third Quarter. Excluding the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless Shoe leases, same property NOI grew by 3.3% for the Trust's six major market portfolio and by 2.9% for its overall commercial portfolio. When completed properties under development are further included in same property NOI and the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless Shoe leases are excluded, same property NOI grew by 4.9% for the six major market portfolio and by 4.4% for the Trust's overall commercial portfolio.
  • For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, same property NOI for RioCan's six major market commercial properties grew by 2.4% while same property NOI for its secondary market commercial properties decreased by 1.1% compared to the same period in 2018, resulting in overall same property NOI growth of 2.0%. Excluding the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless Shoe leases, same property NOI grew by 3.2% for the Trust's six major market portfolio and by 2.8% for its overall commercial portfolio. When completed properties under development are further included in same property NOI and the impact of disclaimed Bombay/Bowring and Payless leases are excluded, same property NOI grew by 4.5% for the Trust's six major market portfolio and by 3.9% for its overall commercial portfolio.
  • For 2019, we maintain our 2.0% to 3.0% same property NOI guidance. Based on achieving our 90% and 50% targets for major market and GTA exposures by the end of 2019, respectively, we expect to achieve same property NOI growth in excess of 3.0% in 2020.

Commercial Operation Highlights

  • Committed and in-place occupancy increased by 10 basis points and 40 basis points to 97.2% and 96.5%, respectively, when compared to the previous quarter.  The committed occupancy improvement was driven, in part, by a 40 basis point increase in office occupancy, while the in-place occupancy improvement was driven by a 60 basis point increase in office occupancy and a 40 basis point increase in retail occupancy.
  • Committed and in-place occupancy for retail remained strong at 97.2% and 96.6%, respectively, with the gap between the committed and in-place occupancy narrowing to 60 basis points. Major market retail committed and in-place occupancy was strong at 97.8% and 97.2%, respectively, while retail committed and in-place occupancy in the GTA was stronger at 98.3% and 97.3%, an increase of 20 basis points and 40 basis points from the previous quarter, respectively.
  • The Trust continues to strengthen its tenant mix with 74.1% of its annualized net rent revenues coming from necessity-based and service-oriented tenants, an increase of 10 basis points from the previous quarter and 130 basis points from the 2018 year end.
  • Renewal leasing spread was 7.7% and blended leasing spread was 6.3% for the Third Quarter, both significantly improved over the comparable period in the prior year.
  • Average net rent per occupied square foot grew by 6.4% over Q3 2018 to $19.49 as of September 30, 2019, driven by strong new and renewal leasing and the Trust's increasing presence in the six major markets including the GTA .
  • Average net rent at the Trust's active urban intensification project is $33.96 per square foot based on 691,000 square feet of committed or in-place leases as of November 5, 2019, reflecting the quality of the Trust's developments which are all major market focused and transit-oriented, and are expected to further propel increases in average net rent and the quality of the Trust's portfolio.

Residential Operation Highlights

  • Residential inventory gains of $12.3 million and $25.2 million were recognized for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019, respectively, from condominium units at eCondosTM and KinglyTM, both in Toronto, Ontario and from townhomes at phase one of the Windfield Farms project in Oshawa, Ontario as the purchasers gradually took possession of their units.  The vast majority of final closings for eCondos were completed during the quarter, while possessions of the majority of the remaining units at Kingly and Windfield Farms Phase One are expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
  • Residential rental leasing is progressing at a strong velocity at the Trust's first two purpose-built RioCan LivingTM properties.  As of November 5, 2019, 365 units (78.3% of all units) have been leased at the 466-unit eCentralTM property in Toronto, Ontario, at an average monthly rent of $3.90 per square foot for market rent units, and 204 units (89.9% of all units) have been leased at the 228-unit FrontierTM property in Ottawa, Ontario at an average monthly rent of $2.50 per square foot. Stabilization is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2020 at eCentral and by the end of 2019 at Frontier.
  • The two residential rental towers generated residential rental net operating income of $0.9 million during the Third Quarter, less than nine months after the start of the phased lease up at the two rental buildings.
  • Condominium sales at 11YV (located in the prestigious Yorkville area of Toronto, Ontario) were launched on September 12, 2019 and are progressing well with 73.4% of the 593 units (at 100%) pre-sold as of November 5, 2019. This project, which is selling at above initial expectation at approximately $1,700 per square foot, is expected to generate a value creation percentage in the range of 15%-17% (at RioCan's interest), including profit on the condominium sales and value creation from the retail and rental replacement unit portions of the project. The estimated value creation percentage is based on estimated IFRS project costs including, but not limited to, land and capitalized interest during the development phase.  Construction is expected to commence in Q2 2020 with an anticipated first possession date of Q3 2024.
  • Condominium sales at the first phase of the high rise condominium project at Windfield Farms in Oshawa, Ontario are also progressing well with 61.6% of the 503 units (at 100%) pre-sold as of November 5, 2019.  This project, which is selling at approximately $590 per square foot, is expected to generate a profit margin in the range of 17%-20% (at RioCan's interest) based on estimated IFRS project costs including, but not limited to, land and capitalized interest during the development phase. This project has an expected construction start date of Q2 2020 and an anticipated first possession date of Q2 2022.
  • For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019, the Trust incurred $1.3 million and $2.7 million marketing costs, respectively, predominantly relating to the condominium and townhouse sales, which negatively impacted FFO.

Strategic Acquisitions and Partnerships

  • During the Third Quarter, the Trust completed three strategic acquisitions, for an aggregate purchase price of $498.9 million net of certain working capital adjustments (before transaction costs), adding 657,000 square feet to the Trust's NLA:
    • the remaining 50% interest in Yonge Sheppard Centre, the nearly one million square foot, urban mixed-used property which includes a 361-unit residential rental tower currently under construction at the intersection of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, for $357.7 million, net of certain working capital adjustments, comprised of $255.3 million for income property and $102.4 million for property under development; as part of the consideration for this transaction, RioCan issued 3,809,523 units or $100.0 million equity to KingSett, with a one-year lock-up agreement commencing August 30, 2019;
    • the remaining 50% interest in eCentral, the 466-unit residential rental tower, and the 22,000 square foot retail component of ePlace, a 705,000 square foot mixed-use development at the intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue in the heart of midtown Toronto, for $114.1 million; and
    • a 50% co-ownership interest in 2323 Yonge Street, a 100% leased office building with market rent upside, street front retail, and significant residential intensification potential in the block immediately north of the intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, adjacent to ePlace and RioCan’s Yonge Eglinton Centre for $27.1 million.
  • These three acquisitions resulted in the Trust owning 100% of the two flagship assets, Yonge Sheppard Centre and eCentral, at two major urban transit hubs in Toronto, Ontario, further enhancing its dominant presence in the urban Yonge Street corridor. The acquisitions expand our RioCan LivingTM residential portfolio and accelerates RioCan’s major market and GTA presence.
  • The Trust also acquired interests in two other income properties with redevelopment potential for an aggregate purchase price of $11.9 million (before transaction costs) during the quarter.
  • During the Third Quarter, RioCan expanded its relationships with two existing well respected residential partners through the following two transactions:
    • Completed the sale of a 50% interest to Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (Boardwalk) for $14.9 million at $80.00 per buildable square foot in just over two acres of a discrete portion of vacant land at Sandalwood Square in Mississauga, Ontario, for development into a mixed-use property consisting of an estimated 470 residential rental units (at 100%) and approximately 12,000 square feet of retail (at 100%). This is RioCan's second partnership with Boardwalk in addition to Brio™ (Brentwood) in Calgary, Alberta, the 163-unit residential rental project expected to be substantially complete in Q2 2020.
    • Entered into a firm agreement to sell to Killam Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (Killam) a 50% interest for $3.7 million at $45.00 per buildable square foot in an approximately 1.45 acre discrete portion of Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.  This transaction is expected to close in mid-2020 once severance of the land is obtained and pertains to only phase one of the planned five-phase mixed-use project. This first phase includes an estimated 168 residential rental units (at 100%) and approximately 11,000 square feet of retail (at 100%).  This would be RioCan's third partnership with Killam in addition to Charlottetown Mall in Charlottetown, PEI and the aforementioned Frontier Phase One in Ottawa, Ontario.

Development Highlights

  • As of September 30, 2019, the Trust has identified an estimated 27.4 million square feet of development pipeline (at RioCan's interest), of which 13.3 million square feet or 48.7% have zoning approval and an additional 7.1 million square feet or 25.9% have zoning applications submitted. The Trust's zoned density increased by 0.2 million square feet in the quarter, mainly as a result of the acquisitions of the remaining 50% co-ownership interests in eCentral and Yonge Sheppard Centre in Toronto, Ontario, partially offset by development completions.
  • The Trust's development pipeline is exclusively in Canada's six major markets with approximately 64% of the estimated pipeline located in the GTA.  Residential components represent 19.7 million square feet (at RioCan's interest) or 71.9% of the Trust's current estimated development pipeline.           
  • As of September 30, 2019, the Trust has recognized $287.7 million of cumulative fair value gains for its 4.2 million square feet of active projects with detailed cost estimates. The Trust anticipates to realize substantial net value creation from its additional 15.2 million square feet of excess density that are either zoned or with zoning application submitted (excluding 1.0 million square feet of residential inventory for condominiums or townhouses) as well as an additional 6.9 million square feet of future density based on the current estimated development pipeline. As of September 30, 2019, nominal fair value gains have been recognized relating to these densities.
  • For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, the Trust completed 412,000 square feet of developments including two residential towers, eCentral in Toronto, Ontario and Frontier (Gloucester Phase One) in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Construction of the 209-unit residential rental Gloucester Phase Two project commenced in Q2 2019. Construction of the 168-unit Elmvale Acres Phase One project commenced in Q3 2019 and construction for the 213-unit Westgate Phase One project is expected to commence in Q4 2019. All three residential rental projects are located in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Construction of the office component of The Well has reached 11 of 36 storeys. Sales for three condominium buildings at The Well by the condominium developer Tridel are progressing well. Sales of the air rights by the Trust and other co-owners related to these condominium buildings are expected to close in 2020/2021.
  • As of September 30, 2019, properties under development and residential inventory account for 8.8% of the Trust's consolidated gross book value of assets, well under the 15% limit permitted under the Trust's revolving line of credit agreement.

Balance Sheet Strength

RioCan continues to exercise sound capital management and remains committed to a strong balance sheet.  As of September 30, 2019, on a proportionate share basis, RioCan had 60.9% of its total debt as unsecured debt and an unencumbered asset pool of $8.9 billion, which generates 58.9% of RioCan's annualized NOI and provides 216% coverage over its unsecured debt, well above its 200% target. The Trust also had $679.3 million of liquidity in the form of cash and cash equivalents and undrawn lines of credit on a proportionate share basis.

On August 12, 2019, RioCan issued $500.0 million of Series AB senior unsecured debentures.  The Debentures were issued at par, carry a coupon rate of 2.576% per annum and will mature on February 12, 2025. The net proceeds of the offering were used to repay certain existing debt of RioCan, which improved the Trust's debt maturity profile and reduced its exposure to floating interest rate debt.  As of September 30, 2019, the Trust's floating interest rate debt exposure was lowered by 460 basis points to 9.7% from the previous quarter end on a proportionate share basis.

Debt to Adjusted EBITDA at RioCan's proportionate share was at 8.07x as at September 30, 2019, up from 7.92x at the end of the previous quarter.  As of September 30, 2019, RioCan's debt to total assets was at 43.6% on a proportionate share basis, up from 42.9% from the previous quarter mainly as a result of debt incurred in funding recently completed strategic acquisitions of Yonge Sheppard Centre, eCentral and 2323 Yonge Street as aforementioned.

On October 28, 2019, the Trust issued 8.9 million common trust units on a bought deal basis, at a price of $25.75 per unit for gross proceeds of $230.1 million  (inclusive of 1.2 million units issued pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters' over-allotment option). The proceeds of the offering were used to repay the indebtedness incurred in funding recently completed strategic acquisitions as aforementioned.  Applying the $220.4 million net proceeds from the equity raise and holding everything else constant as of September 30, 2019, the Trust's proforma debt to total assets would be in the mid-42% range.

Conference Call and Webcast

Interested parties are invited to participate in a conference call with management on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. (ET). You will be required to identify yourself and the organization on whose behalf you are participating.

In order to participate, please dial 647-427-3230 or 1-877-486-4304. If you cannot participate in the live mode, a replay will be available. To access the replay, please dial 1-855-859-2056 and enter passcode 6999223#.

For a copy of the slides to be used for the conference call or, to access the simultaneous webcast, visit RioCan’s website at http://investor.riocan.com/investor-relations/events-and-presentations/ and click on the link for the webcast.

About RioCan

RioCan is one of Canada’s largest real estate investment trusts, with a total enterprise value of approximately $14.9 billion as at September 30, 2019.  RioCan owns, manages and develops retail-focused, increasingly mixed-use properties located in prime, high-density transit-oriented areas where Canadians want to shop, live and work.  As at September 30, 2019, our portfolio is comprised of 225 properties with an aggregate net leasable area of approximately 39.3 million square feet including residential rental and 14 development properties as at September 30, 2019 (at RioCan's Interest). To learn more about us, please visit www.riocan.com.

Basis of Presentation and Non-GAAP Measures

All figures included in this News Release are expressed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.  RioCan’s Consolidated Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  Financial information included within this News Release does not contain all disclosures required by IFRS, and accordingly should be read in conjunction with the Trust's unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements ("Consolidated Financial Statements") and MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019, which is available on RioCan's website at www.riocan.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Consistent with RioCan’s management framework, management uses certain financial measures to assess RioCan’s financial performance, which are not in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) under IFRS.  Funds From Operations (“FFO”), Same Property NOI, Debt to Adjusted EBITDA, RioCan's Proportionate Share, Unencumbered Assets to Unsecured Debt and Total Enterprise Value, as well as other measures that may be discussed elsewhere in this News Release, do not have a standardized definition prescribed by IFRS and are, therefore, unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other reporting issuers.  RioCan supplements its IFRS measures with these Non-GAAP measures to aid in assessing the Trust’s underlying performance and reports these additional measures so that investors may do the same.  Non-GAAP measures should not be considered as alternatives to net earnings or comparable metrics determined in accordance with IFRS as indicators of RioCan’s performance, liquidity, cash flow, and profitability.  For full definitions of these measures, please refer to the "Non-GAAP Measures” section in RioCan’s MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019.

Forward-Looking Information

This News Release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. This information reflects RioCan’s objectives, our strategies to achieve those objectives, as well as statements with respect to management’s beliefs, estimates and intentions concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “objective”, “may”, “will”, “would”, “expect”, “intend”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “should”, “plan”, “continue”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events.  Such forward-looking information reflects management’s current beliefs and is based on information currently available to management.  All forward-looking information in this News Release is qualified by these cautionary statements.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future events or performance and, by its nature, is based on RioCan’s current estimates and assumptions, which are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those described in the “Risks and Uncertainties” section in RioCan's MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 and in our most recent Annual Information Form, which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the forward-looking information contained in this News Release.  General economic conditions, including interest rate fluctuations, may also have an effect on RioCan’s results of operations. Material factors or assumptions that were applied in drawing a conclusion or making an estimate set out in the forward-looking information may include, but are not limited to: a stable retail environment; relatively historically low interest costs; a continuing trend toward land use intensification, including residential development in urban markets; access to equity and debt capital markets to fund, at acceptable costs, future capital requirements and to enable our refinancing of debts as they mature; the availability of investment opportunities for growth in Canada; the timing and ability for RioCan to sell certain properties; the valuations to be realized on property sales relative to current IFRS values; and the Trust's ability to utilize the capital gain refund mechanism.  Although the forward-looking information contained in this News Release is based upon what management believes are reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that actual results will be consistent with this forward-looking information.

Our U.S. subsidiary qualified as a REIT for U.S. income tax purposes up to May 25, 2016, subsequent to the closing date of the sale of our U.S. property portfolio.  For U.S. income tax purposes, the subsidiary distributed all of its U.S. taxable income and is entitled to deduct such distributions against its taxable income.  The subsidiary’s qualification as a REIT depends on the REIT’s satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, unitholder ownership and other requirements up until May 25, 2016.  Our U.S. subsidiary was subject to a 30% or 35% withholding tax on distributions of its U.S. taxable income to Canada. We did not distribute any withholding taxes paid or payable to our unitholders related to the disposition.  Should RioCan’s U.S. subsidiary no longer qualify as a U.S. REIT for U.S. tax purposes prior to May 25, 2016, certain statements contained in this News Release or the MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 may need to be modified.

The forward-looking statements contained in this News Release are made as of the date hereof, and should not be relied upon as representing RioCan’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this News Release.  Management undertakes no obligation, except as required by applicable law, to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact Information
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
Qi Tang
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
416-866-3033 | www.riocan.com

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Source: RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust

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