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Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. Reports First Quarter Operating Results For Fiscal 2021

GREENWICH, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$UBA #REITUrstadt Biddle Properties Inc. (NYSE: UBA and UBP), a real estate investment trust, today reported its operating results for the first quarter ended January 31, 2021 and provided information regarding financial and operational activities considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The following are statistics about our portfolio that are useful in assessing the impact of COVID-19 on our business:

COVID-19 UPDATE (as of January 31, 2021)

  • Of our 81 properties, 67 are shopping centers, 3 are free-standing, net-leased retail bank branches and 4 are restaurant properties. The remaining properties are 6 small suburban office buildings in Greenwich, CT and Bronxville, NY and a childcare center in Chester, NJ.
  • All 74 of our shopping centers, free-standing, net-leased retail bank branches and restaurant properties are open and operating, with 99.1% of our total tenants open and operating based on Annualized Base Rent (“ABR”).
  • All of our shopping centers include necessity-based tenants, with approximately 70.7% of our tenants, based on ABR, either designated “essential businesses” during the early stay-at-home period of the pandemic in the tri-state area or otherwise permitted to operate through curbside pick-up and other modified operating procedures in accordance with state guidelines. These businesses are 98.9% open based on ABR.
  • Of the 870 tenants in our consolidated portfolio, we have received rent relief requests from 401 tenants, with most requests received during the early days of the pandemic when stay-at-home orders were in place and many businesses were required to close. Subsequently, 116 of such 401 tenants withdrew their requests for rent relief or paid rent in full. We continue to receive a small number of new requests, and, in some cases, follow-on requests from tenants to which we had previously provided temporary rent relief. We have evaluated each request on a case-by-case basis to determine the best course of action, recognizing that in many cases some type of concession may be appropriate and beneficial to our long-term interests. Each negotiation has been specific to the individual tenant. Some concessions have been granted in the form of deferred rent and some have been in the form of rent abatements, in each case for some portion of rents due during calendar 2020 and/or 2021-2023. From the beginning of the pandemic through January 31, 2021, we have completed 266 lease modifications, consisting of base rent deferrals totaling $3.8 million, or 3.9% of our ABR, and rent abatements totaling $3.4 million, or 3.5% of our ABR. Included in these amounts were the 32 rent deferrals and abatements completed in the three months ended January 31, 2021, which deferred $399,000 of base rents, or 0.4% of our ABR, and abated $2.0 million of base rents, or 2.0% of our ABR. Included in the $2.0 million aforementioned amount is $1.0 million of base rents for periods subsequent to January 31, 2021.

RENTAL COLLECTIONS UPDATE (as of February 28, 2021)

  • 88.4% of the total base rent, common area maintenance charges (“CAM”) and real estate taxes payable for the period of April through October 2020 has been paid. This percentage is based on collections of pre-pandemic contractual lease amounts billed, exclusive of the application of any security deposits.
  • 90.3% of the total base rent, CAM and real estate taxes payable for the first quarter of 2021 has been paid. This percentage is based on collections of pre-pandemic contractual lease amounts billed, exclusive of the application of any security deposits.
  • 81.7% of the total base rent, CAM and real estate taxes payable for February 2021 has been paid to date. This percentage is based on collections of pre-pandemic contractual lease amounts billed, exclusive of the application of any security deposits.
  • We increased our provision for uncollectable tenant accounts receivable by $654,000 for the three months ended January 31, 2021 ($0.02 per Class A Common share), primarily as a result of uncertainty regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This figure represents a financial reporting charge to earnings and Funds From Operations (“FFO”) (1), but the company intends to collect all unpaid rents from its tenants to the extent feasible.
  • In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), if the company determines that the collection of a tenant’s future lease payments is not probable, the company must change the revenue recognition for that tenant to cash-basis from accrual basis. In light of the financial pressure that COVID-19 has been placing on many of our tenants, we have re-evaluated all of the tenants in our consolidated portfolio, and, as a result of that assessment, we have switched 80 tenants (16 converted in the three months ended January 31, 2021), or 9.2% of the approximately 870 tenants in our consolidated portfolio, to cash-basis accounting. This assessment required the company to write-off an additional $999,000 in billed but uncollected rents related to these 80 tenants, for the three months ended January 31, 2021, and an additional $441,000 in straight-line rent receivables related to the 16 tenants converted to cash-basis accounting for the three months ended January 31, 2021 (combined representing $0.04 per Class A Common share). This figure represents a financial reporting charge to earnings and FFO, but the company intends to collect all unpaid rents from its tenants to the extent feasible.
  • We have $37.1 million of cash and cash equivalents currently on our balance sheet.
  • We have $64 million available on our unsecured revolving credit facility.
  • We have no material mortgage debt maturing until January 31, 2022.
  • We continue to temporarily redirect our acquisitions department’s efforts to include tenant lease modification negotiations.
  • We have taken proactive measures to manage costs, including reducing, where feasible, our common area maintenance spending. We have one ongoing construction project with approximately $2.0 million remaining to complete the project. Otherwise, only minimal construction is underway.
  • The health and safety of the company’s employees and their families is a top priority. In mid-March 2020, we seamlessly transitioned 100% of our workforce to working on a remote basis. In accordance with Connecticut State regulations, our office re-opened at less than 50% capacity on May 20, 2020, with employees encouraged to continue working from home when feasible, consistent with business needs.

FIRST QUARTER 2021

  • $4.5 million net income attributable to common stockholders ($0.12 income per diluted Class A Common share).
  • $12.4 million of FFO ($0.33 per diluted Class A Common share).
  • FFO was reduced by $2.1 million ($0.06 per Class A share) as a result of the above-noted increases in the COVID-19 related tenant accounts receivable reserves and write-offs in the quarter.
  • 89.8% of our consolidated portfolio was leased at January 31, 2021.
  • 13.2% average decrease in base rental rates on new leases over the last four quarters.
  • 2.3% average decrease in base rental rates on lease renewals over the last four quarters.
  • On January 15, 2021, we paid a $0.14 per share quarterly cash dividend on our Class A Common Stock and a $0.125 per share quarterly cash dividend on our Common Stock.

(1) A reconciliation of GAAP net income to FFO is provided at the end of this press release.

Dividend Declarations

  • In December 2020, the company’s Board of Directors approved dividends of $0.14 per Class A Common share and $0.125 per Common share that were paid on January 15, 2021. As a result of COVID-19 and the continuing economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this dividend was lower than pre-pandemic dividend levels and unchanged compared to last quarter’s dividend. This reduced dividend retained $5.5 million of cash in the first quarter of 2021 when compared with pre-pandemic common stock dividend levels. At our next regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting on March 17, 2021, the company’s Board of Directors will continue to assess the company’s financial performance and economic outlook and make a determination regarding dividends for the second quarter. At a minimum, the company intends to pay Class A Common and Common stock dividends in the remainder of fiscal 2021 that are at least equal to the amount required to maintain compliance with its REIT taxable income distribution requirements.
  • In addition, in December 2020, the company’s Board of Directors declared the regular contractual quarterly dividend with respect to each of the company’s Series H and Series K cumulative redeemable preferred stock that was paid on January 29, 2021 to shareholders of record on January 15, 2021.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all of those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with great appreciation and respect for those operating every day on the front lines”, said Willing L. Biddle, President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Biddle continued…. “This quarter was relatively quiet as the acquisitions market is essentially frozen, and we continued to focus on assisting our tenants with the difficulties they are experiencing with decreased sales due to operating restrictions and public uneasiness regarding the virus. All our shopping centers are open, functioning and generally bustling with customers who are acting in a socially-responsible manner by wearing masks and socially-distancing. Thankfully, due to our long-term strategy, 84% of our properties, measured by square footage, are anchored by grocery stores, wholesale clubs or pharmacies, and these businesses have remained open throughout the pandemic. We find encouraging an apparent increase in public confidence, evidenced by consumers returning to their usual activities, spurred in our area by falling virus infection rates and the increasing number of vaccinations. Our nation is fortunate to have superior biotech companies, which, in partnership with the government, so quickly developed multiple effective vaccines. Like nearly all our retail REIT peers, our earnings have been negatively impacted as a result of pandemic-induced reductions in tenant collections, but this pandemic will end. In fact, rent collections were relatively solid in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, averaging 90.3% versus 89.8% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Our anchor grocery stores, drug stores, and wholesale clubs continue to experience strong sales, but weakness continues in those categories of tenants most impacted by restrictions, namely, fitness, dry cleaners, nail and hair salons, certain restaurants and daycare. While there has been some government assistance for these categories via the Paycheck Protection Program and other programs, the assistance has been insufficient in many cases, and it has been largely left to landlords and the owners of businesses in these categories to finance the losses. Nevertheless, we are seeing increasing green shoots of leasing activity in our portfolio. We renewed 171,000 square feet of space and signed 18,000 square feet of new leases in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Also noteworthy is that the ground lease for the former Toys “R” Us/ Babies “R” Us space at one of our Danbury, CT shopping centers has been sold to Ocean State Job Lot, which plans to open a 45,000 sf store this summer. In addition, a new Lidl supermarket is under construction at our Pompton Lakes NJ property, with a projected fall 2021 opening. We also completed the development of a 130,000 square foot self-storage facility adjacent to our Stratford, CT shopping center, and our manager, Extra Space Storage, is encouraged by the early leasing activity. In summary, we are very much looking forward to this coming summer, when we expect to see an increase in business for our tenants and similarly increased leasing activity. While we are unsure when we will have the ability to increase rents, we do see increasing demand for space. Finally, while the acquisitions market is currently near-frozen, we think the effects of the last year will cause some properties in our area to trade during 2021, and the few recent sales of grocery-anchored centers in other parts of the country indicate that capitalization rates on sales of quality properties in good locations remain strong.”

Net income applicable to Class A Common and Common stockholders for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $4,479,000 or $0.12 per diluted Class A Common share and $0.11 per diluted Common share, compared to net income of $5,071,000 or $0.13 per diluted Class A Common share and $0.12 per diluted Common share in last year’s first quarter.

FFO for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $12,375,000 or $0.33 per diluted Class A Common share and $0.29 per diluted Common share, compared with $12,897,000 or $0.34 per diluted Class A Common share and $0.30 per diluted Common share in last year’s first quarter.

Both net income applicable to Class A Common and Common stockholders and FFO for the three months ended January 31, 2021 were reduced by $2.1 million (approximately $0.06 per Class A Common share) primarily due to COVID-19 related collectability adjustments to accounts receivable and straight-line rent receivable.

At January 31, 2021, the company’s consolidated properties were 89.8% leased (versus 90.4% at the end of fiscal 2020) and 88.0% occupied (versus 88.5% at the end of fiscal 2020). The company currently has 461,400 square feet of vacancy in its consolidated portfolio, 79,000 square feet of which is in the lease negotiation stage. In addition, the company is negotiating letters of intent with potential tenants on another 62,000 square feet of vacant space. Also, as previously discussed, at January 31, 2021, the leased percentage treats as leased, and the January 31, 2021 occupancy percentage treats as unoccupied, 65,700 square feet of retail space (1.5% of our consolidated square footage) formerly ground leased by Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us for $0 at the company’s Danbury Square shopping center in Danbury, CT. The new owner of this ground lease, which acquired the lease out of the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy process, has sold the lease to a national retailer, Ocean State Job Lot, who have not taken occupancy of the space as of today. This vacancy has no cash flow impact on the company.

Both the percentage of property leased, and the percentage of property occupied referenced in the preceding paragraph exclude the company’s unconsolidated joint ventures. At January 31, 2021, the company had equity interests in six unconsolidated joint ventures (719,000 square feet), which were 91.1% leased, unchanged from October 31, 2020.

Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust which owns or has equity interests in 81 properties containing approximately 5.2 million square feet of space. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 1970, it provides investors with a means of participating in ownership of income-producing properties. It has paid 204 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted dividends to its shareholders since its inception.

Certain statements contained herein may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among other things, risks associated with the timing of and costs associated with property improvements, financing commitments and general competitive factors.

(Table Follows)

Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. (NYSE: UBA and UBP)

Three Months Ended January 31, 2021 and 2020 Results (Unaudited)

(in thousands, except per share data)

   

 

   

Three Months Ended

January 31,

 

   

2021

 

2020

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lease income

   

 

$32,483

 

 

 

$32,945

 

Lease termination

   

 

705

 

 

 

209

 

Other

   

 

1,089

 

 

 

1,194

 

Total Revenues

   

 

34,277

 

 

 

34,348

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property operating

   

 

6,314

 

 

 

5,929

 

Property taxes

   

 

5,861

 

 

 

5,810

 

Depreciation and amortization

   

 

7,518

 

 

 

7,135

 

General and administrative

   

 

2,644

 

 

 

2,777

 

Directors’ fees and expenses

   

 

109

 

 

 

105

 

Total Operating Expenses

   

 

22,446

 

 

 

21,756

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Income

   

 

11,831

 

 

 

12,592

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-Operating Income (Expense):

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

   

 

(3,392)

 

 

 

(3,339)

 

Equity in net income from unconsolidated joint ventures

   

 

350

 

 

 

513

 

Gain (loss) on sale of property

   

 

(28)

 

 

 

(339)

 

Interest, dividends and other investment income

   

 

43

 

 

 

94

 

Net Income

   

 

8,804

 

 

 

9,521

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noncontrolling interests:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

   

 

(912)

 

 

 

(1,038)

 

Net income attributable to Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc.

   

 

7,892

 

 

 

8,483

 

Preferred stock dividends

   

 

(3,413)

 

 

 

(3,412)

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Income Applicable to Common and Class A Common Stockholders

   

 

$4,479

 

 

 

$5,071

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Earnings Per Share:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per Common Share:

   

 

$ 0.11

 

 

 

$ 0.12

 

Per Class A Common Share:

   

 

$ 0.12

 

 

 

$ 0.14

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted Earnings Per Share:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per Common Share:

   

 

$ 0.11

 

 

 

$ 0.12

 

Per Class A Common Share:

   

 

$ 0.12

 

 

 

$ 0.13

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding – (Diluted):

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A Common and Class A Common Equivalent

   

 

29,590

 

 

 

29,648

 

Common and Common Equivalent

   

 

9,393

 

 

 

9,447

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results of Operations

The following information summarizes our results of operations for the three months ended January 31, 2021 and 2020 (amounts in thousands):

 

     

Three Months Ended

     

 

     

Change Attributable to

 

     

January 31,

 

 

 

Increase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property

 

 

 

Properties Held In

Revenues

     

2021

 

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(Decrease)

 

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

Acquisitions/Sales

 

 

 

Both Periods (Note 1)

Base rents

     

$24,159

     

$25,292

     

$(1,133)

     

(4.5) %

     

$66

     

$(1,199)

Recoveries from tenants

     

9,978

     

7,995

     

1,983

     

24.8%

     

     

1,983

Uncollectable amounts in lease income

     

(655)

     

(342)

     

(313)

     

91.5%

     

     

(313)

ASC Topic 842 cash basis lease income reversal

     

(999)

     

     

(999)

     

100.0%

     

     

(999)

Lease termination

     

705

     

209

     

496

     

237.3%

     

     

496

Other income

     

1,089

     

1,194

     

(105)

     

(8.8)%

     

(24)

     

(81)

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

Operating Expenses

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

Property operating

     

6,314

     

5,929

     

385

     

6.5%

     

(7)

     

392

Property taxes

     

5,861

     

5,810

     

51

     

0.9%

     

     

51

Depreciation and amortization

     

7,518

     

7,135

     

383

     

5.4%

     

76

     

307

General and administrative

     

2,644

     

2,777

     

(133)

     

(4.8)%

     

n/a

     

n/a

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

Non-Operating Income/Expense

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

Interest expense

     

3,392

     

3,339

     

53

     

1.6%

     

0

     

53

Interest, dividends, and other investment income

     

43

     

94

     

(51)

     

(54.3)%

     

n/a

     

n/a

Note 1 – Properties held in both periods includes only properties owned for the entire periods of 2021 and 2020 and for interest expense the amount also includes parent company interest expense. All other properties are included in the property acquisition/sales column. There are no properties excluded from the analysis.

Base rents decreased by 4.5% to $24.2 million for the three month period ended January 31, 2021 as compared with $25.3 million in the comparable period of 2020. The change in base rent and the changes in other income statement line items analyzed in the table above were attributable to:

Property Acquisitions and Properties Sold:

In the first three months of fiscal 2020, we sold two properties totaling 18,100 square feet. These properties accounted for all of the revenue and expense changes attributable to property acquisitions and sales in the three months ended January 31, 2021 when compared with fiscal 2020.

Properties Held in Both Periods:

Revenues

Base Rent

The net decrease in base rents for the three month period ended January 31, 2021, when compared to the corresponding prior period, was predominantly caused by a reduction of $441,000 in the first three months of fiscal 2021 for a reversal of straight-line rents for tenants whose revenue recognition was switched to cash-basis accounting in accordance with ASC Topic 842. There was no such reversal in the first three months of fiscal 2020. In addition, the reduction of base rents was caused by a decrease in occupancy rates in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 when compared with the corresponding prior period, predominantly related to the vacancies at nine properties.

In the first three months of fiscal 2021, we leased or renewed approximately 189,000 square feet (or approximately 4.2% of total GLA). At January 31, 2021, the Company’s consolidated properties were 89.8% leased (90.4% leased at October 31, 2020).

Tenant Recoveries

In the three month period ended January 31, 2021, recoveries from tenants (which represent reimbursements from tenants for operating expenses and property taxes) increased by a net $2.0 million when compared with the corresponding prior period.

The increase in tenant recoveries for the three month period ended January 31, 2021 when compared to the corresponding prior period was the result of having higher common area maintenance expenses in the three month period of fiscal 2021 when compared with the three month period of fiscal 2020 related to roof repairs, canopy repairs, and parking lot repairs. In addition, we completed the 2020 annual reconciliations for both common area maintenance and real estate taxes in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and those reconciliations resulted in us billing our tenants more than we had anticipated and accrued for in the prior period, which increased tenant reimbursement income in the current quarter.

Uncollectable Amounts in Lease Income

In the three month period ended January 31, 2021, uncollectable amounts in lease income increased by $313,000. This increase was predominantly the result of our assessment of the collectability of existing non-credit small shop tenants’ receivables given the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. A number of non-credit small shop tenants’ businesses were deemed non-essential by the states where they operate and were forced to close for a portion of fiscal 2020. Our assessment was based on the premise that as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, our non-credit small shop tenants will need to use most of their resources to re-establish their business footing and any existing accounts receivable attributable to these tenants would most likely be uncollectable.

ASC Topic 842 Cash Basis Lease Income Reversals

The Company adopted ASC Topic 842 “Leases” at the beginning of fiscal 2020. ASC Topic 842 requires amongst other things, that if the collectability of a specific tenant’s future lease payments as contracted are not probable of collection, revenue recognition for that tenant must be converted to cash-basis accounting and be limited to the lesser of the amount billed or collected from that tenant, and in addition, any straight-line rental receivables would need to be reversed in the period that the collectability assessment changed to not probable. As a result of continuing to analyze our entire tenant base, we have determined that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 80 tenants’ future lease payments were no longer probable of collection (9.

Contacts

Willing L. Biddle, CEO or

John T. Hayes, CFO

Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc.

(203) 863-8200

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