Canadian Net Real Estate Investment Trust

Q1 2024 Earnings Conference Call


spk02: Good morning. I would like to welcome everyone to CanadianNet REIT's 2024 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, we will conduct a question and answer session. To ask a question during the session, you will need to press star 1 1 on your telephone. You will then hear an automated message advising your hand is raised. To withdraw your question, please press star 1 1 again. I would like to advise everyone that this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Ben Gazeth, Canadianet REIT's Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead, Mr. Gazeth.
spk01: Thank you, Operator. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us on our Q1 2024 results conference call. Before we begin today, we are obliged to advise you that in talking about our financial and operating performance and in responding to questions today, we may make forward-looking statements including statements concerning Canadian NET's objectives and strategies to achieve them, as well as statements with respect to our plans, estimates and intentions, or concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, or performance, which are not historical facts. These statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the conclusions in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on the risks that could impact our actual results and the expectations and assumptions we applied in making these forward-looking statements can be found in CanadianNet's most recent annual information forum for the year ended December 31, 2023, and management discussion and analysis for the period ended March 31, 2024, which are available on our website at and on CDRplus at We will also refer to non-IFRS financial measures today, which are widely used in the Canadian real estate industry, including FFO, AFFO, and NOI. CanadianNet believes these financial measures provide useful information to both management and investors in measuring the financial performance and financial condition of CanadianNet. These financial measures do not have any standardized definitions prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other entities. For more information, please refer to the section Non-IFRS Financial Measures of our MD&A for the period ending March 31st, 2024. I will now turn the call over to Kevin Henley, Canadian NetReach President and CEO. Kevin.
spk00: Thank you, Ben, and good morning, everyone. Our portfolio continued to perform very well during Q1. We maintained our 100% occupancy and 57 payout ratio. In addition, we are happy to announce the completion of our Lachnay-Benion co-development which came live in May. We are also starting the construction on our Belleuil-Bénin co-development, which will come live in the fall. Combined, those properties will add approximately $135,000 of NOI on an annual basis to the REIT. While the portfolio performed well, we reported a 3% decrease in FFO per unit from 15.7 cents to 15.2 cents per unit. This was due to higher interest expense on our line of credit and, most importantly, from mortgages renewed in 2023 in the wholly owned and in the JVs. As we move into 2024, we are seeing lower mortgage rates than 2023, so we believe the high is behind us at this point. Turning over to lease renewals, we only have one lease coming up for renewal at the end of 2024, representing approximately $60,000. Looking at 2025, we have five leases coming up for renewal, representing approximately $2.35 million of NOI. Of those, one lease of $90,000 has already been renewed at a 32% spread. We expect the leasing spread on the 2025 renewals to be at around 7%. Demand remains excessively strong in our asset class. The properties on which we have expiring leases hold strong positions in their markets and rents are below market. As we move into the year, more of the 2025 leases will be renewed. Our weighted average lease term is at 6.5 years. On the financing front, we have eight loans for renewal in 2024. Those include two variable rate mortgages on the properties held for sale and three mortgages in joint ventures. Those are spread throughout the year, and including those on the properties held for sale, we have one in each of Q1, Q2, Q3, and three in the Q4. The loan renewal in Q1 allowed us to generate $150,000 in cash proceeds, which we will get during Q2. As we look at the transactional market, we are hopeful that activity will pick up as we saw a decrease in the all-in mortgage rates compared to 2023. Valuations held strong last year, which made it impossible to find accretive opportunities. With lower rates in 2024, we might see a pickup in activity. Our current objective remains to recycle capital in order to high-grade the portfolio and invest in accretive opportunities as those arise. I will now turn the call back over to Ben Gizis, who will review our Q1 results in more details. Thank you.
spk01: Thank you, Kevin. For the three-month period ended March 31, 2024, we generated FFO per unit of 15.2 cents, down 3% compared to 15.7 cents for the same period in 2023. FFO for the period ended March 31, 2024, decreased to $3.1 million compared to $3.2 million in Q1 2023. FFO was impacted by increases from contractual rent step-ups, which was offset by higher interest charges on mortgage renewals, variable rate mortgages, and credit facilities. During the same period, property rental income was $6.5 million, an increase of 2% compared to $6.4 million in the same period last year. NOI was $4.8 million, down 1% from $4.9 million for the same period in 2023. Rental income and NOI were impacted by increases in base rents and recoverable additional rents of certain existing properties and decreases in rental revenue from property dispositions in 2023. The IFRS value of our adjusted investment properties, which is the total of our wholly owned investment properties and our proportionate share of the investment properties held in joint ventures, was $330 million as of March 21, 2024, compared to $329 million a year earlier. We continue to maintain a prudent approach with respect to our leverage and our payout ratio, having a debt-to-gross asset ratio of approximately 57% at year-end compared to 59% at the same time last year, excluding convertible dementors, Debt to growth assets was 54% compared to 55% last year. Our FFO payout ratio for Q1 2024 was 57%, a slight increase from 55% for the same period last year. Our properties are typically financed with fixed rate amortizing mortgages. As of March 31st, 2024, the REIT's exposure to variable rate debt is composed of two variable rate mortgages and its credit facilities. In addition, bridge loans on our development project are at variable rate until converted to takeout financing. We have $12 million of mortgages rolling over in 2024, excluding mortgages in our JVs, and the bulk of our renewals are not before 2020. Included in the mortgages rolling over are $28 million in mortgages associated with properties held for sale. The current average term to maturity on our mortgages is 4.3 years. That summarizes our Q results for the quarter. We will now open the line for any questions. Operator?
spk02: As a reminder, to ask a question, please press star 11 on your telephone. and wait for your name to be announced. To withdraw your question, please press star 11 again.
spk06: Please stand by while we compile the Q&A roster. And our first question comes from Alexander Leon with Desjardins Capital Markets.
spk02: Your line is now open.
spk04: Hey, good morning, guys. My first question is, is on some of the commentary you made on the cadence of the lease renewals. So I just wanted to confirm. So for 2024, you mentioned that there's only one lease coming up for renewal, and that is at the end of the year. Is that correct?
spk00: Exactly. So it's a December lease. So we'll be renegotiating with the tenants shortly.
spk04: Okay, awesome. And then maybe can you provide some commentary on maybe the cadence of some of those leases? I think you mentioned five leases that are coming up to renewal in 2025.
spk00: Yeah, so I would say they are spread really throughout the year. You know, we have two in Q1, one in Q3, and one in Q4. Those are the major ones. The other one has been renewed already. And so as for the cadence, those are national tenants. And so the way though they address renewals, is rarely ahead of time. They have procedures to follow. So while we feel extremely confident about the renewal, we won't have an answer before their actual option period delay. Okay, and on that one... Six, nine months ahead of expiry.
spk04: Okay, and then the one renewal that you mentioned, you completed the 32% spread. Did you mention that was 90,000 square feet? $90,000, sorry.
spk00: A $90,000. Okay. Yeah, exactly. That increased by 32%.
spk04: Okay, awesome. And then maybe just the last one. I want to confirm some of the commentary you mentioned on the mortgages. You mentioned one in each of Q1, Q2, Q3, and then three in Q4. So that includes the mortgages in the JVs?
spk00: Exactly, confirmed.
spk04: Okay, and... So I guess on the two variable rate mortgages, are those the ones that are on balance sheet?
spk00: Exactly. So the two properties you see for sale, those are variable rate mortgages.
spk04: Oh, those are the ones listed for sale. Okay. Okay, that's it for me. Thanks for taking my questions.
spk06: Thank you, Alex. Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from David Crystal with Echelon.
spk02: Your line is now open.
spk03: Thanks. Good morning, guys. Good morning, Danny. I've noticed a slight fair value gain on the assets held for sale. Is this based on ongoing discussions on the sale process and kind of refining pricing there? Or is it more just broadly cap rates or higher NOI forecast for those properties?
spk00: This is simply from NOI. So we renegotiated some leases last year on those properties, extending the term, increasing the rent. And so that's what you see reflected. Cap rate remains stable. And so that's the reason.
spk03: And are you having any active discussions? And can you maybe comment on expected timing of those dispositions?
spk00: Having conversation, yes. Timing of dispositions, wouldn't want to commit at this point. and uh what what's the pr what's the cap rate implied by the carrying value um the cap rate uh it would be i would need to get back to you on it but it would have to be in the sixes uh and in the sevens for uh the property in the saint yes 19.
spk03: Okay. And you've addressed all of your 2024 leases and obviously making progress on 25s. Can you give us a sense of what organic NOI growth looks like for 24 and if you have a good idea of 25 as well?
spk00: Yeah, organic growth, generally speaking, in the portfolio always turns around about 1.5%. So that is in line with with historicals this year.
spk03: And you'd expect similar for 2025?
spk00: No significant. I would say that the larger one will be the renewals. But apart from this, nothing. It's a quiet year, I would say, in terms of lease rollover and renewals in 2025 for us. Everything's very stable and safe for 2025.
spk03: Okay, and last one for me. There was a dip in NOI from the joint ventures quarter over quarter. Is there anything one-time or timing related in this, and what's a good run rate for the full year, including the new deliveries?
spk01: Yeah, I'll pass it on to Ben for this. I think it was mainly due to catch-up of variable rent in one of our properties in Q4 due to... higher volume and also I think we had also a rate jump up as well.
spk03: So would Q1 be a good run rate or would the full year look similar to last year?
spk01: I think that's fair to say, yeah.
spk03: Okay. I'll turn it back. Thanks.
spk00: We did have at one time $30,000 gain also from one of the properties and again like Ben mentioned for variable in Q4 and so obviously this won't be reflected in Q1, Q2 going forward. Okay, perfect. That's helpful. Thanks.
spk02: Thank you. As a reminder, to ask a question, please press star 11 on your telephone and wait for your name to be announced. To withdraw your question, please press star 11 again. Our next question comes from Zachary Weisbrod with Canaccord. Your line is now open.
spk05: Thanks. Good morning. Good morning, Zachary. Your IFRS cap rate is held relatively stable now for several consecutive quarters. So I'm wondering if this is reflective of what you're seeing in the market in regards to pricing for potential acquisition opportunities or dispositions.
spk00: Yeah, what I would say is the cap rates didn't really move last year because we saw very little transactions. And when you think of our portfolio, especially we own assets in secondary and tertiary markets. So when you look at this market, single tenant retail properties in those markets really did not transact last year. So obviously that stayed stable. From a transactional perspective, we see quite the same. So the assets that were for sale in 2023 held their price, just didn't transact. And as I was mentioning earlier, with today's mortgage rates, we might see some more activity on those properties because although the pricing is the same, the yield now that you can generate compared to the mortgage is interesting. So valuation stayed strong throughout the year. And I think a characteristic of our industry as well is we're talking about single tenant, triple net properties, management free. Most owners of those properties aren't in a rush ever to sell because you have so little to operate and so little risk. And so we really saw sellers holding strong last year.
spk05: I see. So it's more of a function of limited transaction activity. Okay, and turning to leasing activity, building off of Alex's line of questions, I believe you mentioned that you achieved a very strong leasing spread of 32% on a 2025 expiry. Are you able to give a little bit more color on the type of property, the tenant location?
spk00: Yeah, it was a QSR property in the greater Montreal area. I would say QSRs, when they get to the expiry, of the lease, so no more options, is where we see across the market, generally speaking, a significant opportunity for increase.
spk05: Okay. And for the remainder of the 2025 expiries, are those more the grocery-anchored properties?
spk06: Yes.
spk05: Okay. Thanks. That's it for me. I'll turn it back.
spk00: Thank you, Zach.
spk02: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Alexander Leon with Desjardins Capital Markets. Your line is open.
spk04: Oh, hey, sorry, guys. That was a mistake on my end. Tried to jump out of the queue.
spk00: No problem. Thanks, Alex.
spk02: Thank you. I'm showing no further questions at this time. I would now like to turn it back to Kevin Henley for closing remarks.
spk00: Well, thank you all for being on the call today and looking forward to the next one for our future results. Thank you and have a great day.
spk02: This concludes today's conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.

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