| Source: European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
TORONTO, May 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust (“ERES” or the “REIT”) (TSX: ERE.UN) announced today its results for the three months ended March 31, 2022.
ERES’s unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) for the three months ended March 31, 2022 can be found at www.eresreit.com or under ERES’s profile at www.sedar.com.
ONWARD AND UPWARD IN 2022
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Outperforming Operating Metrics
Continued Fair Value Appreciation on Portfolio
Accretive Financial Performance
Strong Financial Position with Ample Liquidity
On May 2, 2022, the REIT completed the acquisition of five multi-residential properties comprised of 110 suites located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (the “GWD Rotterdam Portfolio“), for a purchase price of €23.0 million (excluding transaction costs and fees). The acquisition was initially funded via promissory note issued on April 27, 2022 to Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (“CAPREIT”), the REIT’s asset and property manager, in the principal amount of €25.7 million, carrying an interest rate of 1.50% per annum and a six-month term to maturity, to be replaced with long-term mortgage financing at a future date.
The GWD Rotterdam Portfolio is 100% owned and currently 100% occupied, and with 93% of its suites regulated, it provides significant potential for uplifts on conversion. Located in the Randstad region of the Netherlands, the GWD Rotterdam Portfolio is situated nearby a substantial portion of the REIT’s existing portfolio, therefore enabling operational efficiency and synergy with the five buildings to be managed by the REIT’s existing asset and property manager established in the Netherlands.
Further to the above, for rental increases due to indexation beginning on July 1, 2022, the REIT served tenant notices to 6,499 suites, representing 96% of the residential portfolio, across which the average rental increase due to indexation is 2.95%.
“During the first quarter of 2022, we once again have proven empirically our ability to pair strong organic growth with accretive acquisitive expansion, resulting in the REIT’s continued out-performance on all of its key operational and financial targets,” commented Phillip Burns, Chief Executive Officer. “The previously announced and now demonstrated acceleration of ERES’s over-achievement into the new year is on track to continue into the second quarter of 2022, with the successful completion of already another high-quality acquisition of 110 multi-residential suites in the Randstad region of the Netherlands.”
OPERATING METRICS CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN
Net and Occupied AMR for the total multi-residential portfolio increased by 5.5% and 5.3%, respectively, while Net and Occupied AMR for the stabilized portfolio increased by 4.1% and 3.8%, respectively, compared to the prior year period. The increases were driven by increased rents on annual indexation, turnover and conversion of regulated suites to liberalized suites. The REIT’s achievement of growth in rental revenues at the high end of its target range of 3% to 4% demonstrates its ability to consistently and profitably operate in a complex and fluid regulatory regime.
For the three months ended March 31, 2022, turnover was 2.6%, with average rental uplift (including service charge income) of 20.7%. This compares exceptionally well to average rental uplift (including service charge income) of only 13.3% on turnover of 3.8% in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Rental uplifts were significantly higher on conversions, at 55.1% for the current quarter, compared to 33.4% for the three months ended March 31, 2021.
Operating revenues increased by 12.9% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to the prior year period, primarily due to accretive acquisitions and an increase in monthly rents on the stabilized portfolio, as described above.
NOI increased by 14.9% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, versus the same period last year, likewise driven by contribution from acquisitions since the prior year period, higher monthly rents on stabilized properties and strong cost control. This was complemented by a decrease in property operating costs as a percentage of operating revenues, predominantly due to lower repairs and maintenance (“R&M”) costs as well as a reduction in landlord levy expense, as a result of the reduced landlord levy tax rate effective January 1, 2022 and utilization of a rebate from the government for landlord levies payable. In aggregate, total portfolio NOI margin increased substantially to 76.8% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to 75.5% in the prior year period.
Excluding the impact of the landlord levy rebate, NOI margin on the total portfolio still increased to 76.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2022. However, given the REIT’s intention to consistently purchase landlord levy rebates, along with the aforementioned reduction in the landlord levy tax rate as well as its potential abolishment, the REIT considers that its actual NOI margin for the three months ended March 31, 2022 will be indicative of long-run performance, with an expectation that it will achieve an annual NOI margin in the range of 76% to 79% of operating revenues. This is further reinforced by the REIT’s limited exposure to inflationary pressures — tenants are responsible for the majority of their own energy and other utility costs, the REIT has no employees and therefore no wage costs, and property management fees are a fixed percentage of operating revenues. This preserves the REIT’s property operating costs and, combined with its strong growth in rental revenues, improves its normalized NOI margin.
The increase in stabilized NOI contribution by 5.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to the prior year period, was primarily driven by higher operating revenues from increased monthly rents, as well as a reduction in operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenues, predominantly due to lower R&M as well as landlord levy expense, as a result of both the reduced landlord levy tax rate and utilization of the landlord levy rebate. Excluding the impact of the landlord levy rebate, NOI margin on the stabilized portfolio still increased to 76.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2022.
The REIT remains focused on continuing to further improve NOI and NOI margin in the long term through a combination of accretive and value-enhancing acquisitions, successful sales and marketing strategies to further improve revenues, and investment in capital programs to further reduce costs and enhance the quality and value of its portfolio. In addition, the REIT notes that its property operating costs are largely insulated from inflation, as tenants are responsible for the majority of their own energy and other utility costs, the REIT has no employees and therefore no wage costs, and property management fees are a fixed percentage of operating revenues. This further preserves the REIT’s property operating costs and, combined with its strong growth in rental revenues, improves its normalized NOI margin.
The increases in FFO and AFFO were driven by the positive impact of increased stabilized NOI and accretive acquisitions since the prior year period.
FFO is a measure of operating performance based on the funds generated by the business before reinvestment or provision for other capital needs. AFFO is a supplemental measure which adjusts FFO for costs associated with capital expenditures, leasing costs, and tenant improvements. FFO and AFFO as presented are in accordance with the recommendations of the Real Property Association of Canada (“REALpac”) as published in January 2022, with the exception of certain adjustments made to the REALpac defined FFO, which relate to acquisition research costs. FFO and AFFO may not, however, be comparable to similar measures presented by other real estate investment trusts or companies in similar or different industries. Management considers FFO and AFFO to be important measures of the REIT’s operating performance. Please refer to “Basis of Presentation and Non-IFRS Measures” within this press release for further information.
NAV represents total Unitholders’ equity per the REIT’s consolidated statements of financial position, adjusted to exclude certain amounts in order to provide what management considers to be a key measure of the intrinsic value of the REIT on a going concern basis. Management believes that this measure reflects the residual value of the REIT to its Unitholders on a going concern basis and is therefore used by management on both an aggregate and per Unit basis to evaluate the net asset value attributable to Unitholders, and changes thereon based on the execution of the REIT’s strategy. Please refer to the “Basis of Presentation and Non-IFRS Measures” section within this press release for further information.
FINANCIAL POSITION REMAINS ROBUST AND CONSERVATIVE
ERES’s liquidity and leverage remain strong, supported by the REIT’s staggered mortgage profile with a four-year weighted average term to maturity and a weighted average effective interest rate of 1.52%. The majority of the REIT’s mortgages are non-amortizing, and mature between 2022 and 2027. The REIT has immediately available liquidity of €44 million as at March 31, 2022, and its total debt to gross book value is 47.7%.
Management aims to maintain an optimal degree of debt to GBV of the REIT’s assets depending on a number of factors at any given time. Capital adequacy is monitored against investment and debt restrictions contained in the REIT’s fourth amended and restated declaration of trust dated April 28, 2020, and the amended and renewed credit agreement dated October 29, 2021, between the REIT and two Canadian chartered banks, providing access to up to €100.0 million (the “Revolving Credit Facility”). The REIT manages its overall liquidity risk by maintaining sufficient available credit facilities and available cash on hand to fund its ongoing operational and capital commitments and distributions to Unitholders, and to provide future growth in its business.
“Over the past three years, ERES’s ability to successfully and invariably execute on its strategic objectives has fundamentally relied on its robust yet flexible financial position, which itself constitutes a core pillar supporting the REIT’s track record for exceeding expectations,” commented Stephen Co, Chief Financial Officer. “We have both creatively and accretively financed acquisitions and operations, while simultaneously maintaining consistently conservative debt metrics. On top of that, we were able to pass the accomplishments of the REIT onward to its Unitholders by once again increasing its rate of distribution, up significantly by 9% in this past quarter and in turn, preserving ERES’s reputation for its comparatively high distribution yield.”
During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the REIT declared monthly distributions of €0.00917 per Unit (equivalent to €0.110 per Unit annualized) in respect of January and February, and €0.01 per Unit (equivalent to €0.120 per Unit annualized) thereafter, following an increase of 9% in the REIT’s monthly distribution rate. Such distributions are paid to Unitholders of record on each record date, on or about the 15th day of the month following the record date. The REIT intends to continue to make regular monthly distributions, subject to the discretion of its Board of Trustees.
A conference call hosted by Phillip Burns, Chief Executive Officer and Stephen Co, Chief Financial Officer, will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 9:00 am EST. The telephone numbers for the conference call are Canadian Toll Free: 1 (833) 950-0062 / International: +1 (929) 526-1599. The Passcode for the call is 209395.
A replay of the call will be available for 7 days after the call, until Tuesday, May 10, 2022. The telephone numbers to access the replay are Canadian Toll Free: 1 (226) 828-7578 or International +44 (204) 525-0658. The Passcode for the replay is 048277.
The call will also be webcast live and accessible through the ERES website at www.eresreit.com — click on “Investor Info” and follow the link at the top of the page. The webcast will also be available by clicking on the link below:
A replay of the webcast will be available for 1 year after the webcast at the same link.
The slide presentation to accompany management’s comments during the conference call will be available on the ERES website an hour and a half prior to the conference call.
About European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust
ERES is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust. ERES’s REIT Units are listed on the TSX under the symbol ERE.UN. ERES is Canada’s only European-focused multi-residential REIT, with a current initial focus on investing in high-quality multi-residential real estate properties in the Netherlands. ERES owns a portfolio of 158 multi-residential properties, comprised of 6,901 suites and ancillary retail space located in the Netherlands, and owns one office property in Germany and one office property in Belgium.
ERES’s registered and principal business office is located at 11 Church Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1W1.
For more information please visit our website at www.eresreit.com.
Basis of Presentation and Non-IFRS Measures
Unless otherwise stated, all amounts included in this press release are in thousands of Euros, the functional currency of the REIT. The REIT’s unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements (“Interim Financial Statements”) are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”). Financial information included within this press release does not contain all disclosures required by IFRS, and accordingly should be read in conjunction with the REIT’s Interim Financial Statements and MD&A for the three months ended March 31, 2022, which is available on the REIT’s website at www.eresreit.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Consistent with the REIT’s management framework, management uses certain financial measures to assess the REIT’s financial performance, which are not in accordance with IFRS (“Non-IFRS Measures”). Since these Non-IFRS Measures are not recognized under IFRS, they may not be comparable to similar measures reported by other issuers. The REIT presents Non-IFRS Measures because management believes Non-IFRS Measures are relevant measures of the ability of the REIT to earn revenue, generate sustainable economic earnings, and to evaluate its performance and financial condition. The Non-IFRS Measures should not be construed as alternatives to net income or cash flows from operating activities determined in accordance with IFRS as indicators of the REIT’s performance or the sustainability of distributions. For full definitions of these measures, please refer to “Non-IFRS Measures” in Section I and Section IV of the REIT’s MD&A for the three months ended March 31, 2022.
Where not otherwise disclosed, reconciliations for certain Non-IFRS Measures included within this press release are provided below.
Adjusted Debt and Adjusted Debt Ratio
The REIT’s Declaration of Trust requires compliance with certain financial covenants, including the Ratio of Adjusted Debt to Gross Book Value. Management uses Total Debt Adjusted for Declaration of Trust and the Ratio of Adjusted Debt to Gross Book Value as indicators in assessing if the debt level maintained is sufficient to provide adequate cash flows for distributions and for evaluating the need to raise funds for further expansion.
A reconciliation from total debt is as follows:
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortization and Fair Value
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, Amortization and Fair Value (“EBITDAFV”) is calculated as prescribed in the REIT’s Revolving Credit Facility for the purpose of determining the REIT’s Debt Service Coverage Ratio and Interest Coverage Ratio, and is defined as net income (loss) attributable to Unitholders, reversing, where applicable, income taxes, interest expense, amortization expense, depreciation expense, adjustments to fair value and other adjustments as permitted in the REIT’s Revolving Credit Facility. Management believes EBITDAFV is useful in assessing the REIT’s ability to service its debt, finance capital expenditures and provide for distributions to its Unitholders.
A reconciliation of net income (loss) to EBITDA is as follows:
Debt Service Coverage Ratio
The Debt Service Coverage Ratio is defined as EBITDAFV less cash taxes, divided by the sum of interest expense (including on mortgages payable, bank indebtedness and promissory notes) and all regularly scheduled principal payments made with respect to indebtedness during the period (other than any balloon, bullet or similar principal payable at maturity or which repays such indebtedness in full). The Debt Service Coverage Ratio is calculated as prescribed in the REIT’s Revolving Credit Facility, and is based on the trailing four quarters. Management believes the Debt Service Coverage Ratio is useful in determining the ability of the REIT to service the interest requirements of its outstanding debt.
Interest Coverage Ratio
The Interest Coverage Ratio is defined as EBITDAFV divided by interest expense (including on mortgages payable, bank indebtedness and promissory notes). The Interest Coverage Ratio is calculated as prescribed in the REIT’s Revolving Credit Facility, and is based on the trailing four quarters. Management believes the Interest Coverage Ratio is useful in determining the REIT’s ability to service the interest requirements of its outstanding debt.
Certain statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws which reflect ERES’s current expectations and projections about future results. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “objective”, “may”, “will”, “expect”, “intent”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “consider”, “should”, “plans”, “predict”, “estimate”, “forward”, “potential”, “could”, “likely”, “approximately”, “scheduled”, “forecast”, “variation” or “continue”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. The forward-looking statements made in this press release relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this press release. Actual results and developments are likely to differ, and may differ materially, from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements as well as future results. Although ERES believes that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurances that the expectations of any forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Such forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be incorrect. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
Except as specifically required by applicable Canadian securities law, ERES does not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing ERES’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.