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Alexandria's (ARE) Q4 FFO Up Y/Y, Rental Rate Increases

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (ARE - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2020 funds from operations (FFO) as adjusted of $1.84 per share, up nearly 4% from the year-ago quarter’s $1.77. The figure also came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.84.

This year-over-year improvement resulted from 13.6% year-over-year top-line growth to $463.7 million. Results reflect decent internal and external growth. The company witnessed continued healthy leasing activity and rental rate growth during the quarter.

For full-year 2020, adjusted FFO per share came in at $7.30, higher than the prior-year tally of $6.96 and in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This was backed by 23.1% growth in total revenues to $1.89 billion.

Alexandria also issued its 2021 outlook, guiding FFO per share in the range of $7.60-$7.80, with the mid-point at $7.70. Moreover, the company has collected rents and tenant recoveries of 99.8% for Apr 1, 2020 through Dec 31, 2020, and 99.2% for Jan 2021 as of Jan 29, 2021. Also, as of Dec 31, 2020, the company’s tenant receivables balance was $7.3 million.

Behind the Headline Numbers

Alexandria’s total leasing activity aggregated to 1.34 million rentable square feet (RSF) of space during the December-end quarter. Lease renewals and re-leasing of space amounted to 699,916 RSF.

On a year-over-year basis, same-property NOI grew 2.7%. It climbed 5% on a cash basis. Occupancy of operating properties in North America remained high at 94.6%. The company registered decent rental rate growth of 29.8% during the reported quarter. On a cash basis, rental rate increased 10.7%.

As of fourth-quarter 2020, investment-grade or publicly-traded large-cap tenants accounted for 55% of annual rental revenues in effect. Weighted-average remaining lease term of all tenants is 7.6 years. For the company’s top 20 tenants, it is 11 years.

During the October-December period, the company completed the acquisitions of 16 properties for a total of $580.7 million. These acquisitions comprise 3.3 million SF space in key submarkets, with value-creation scopes including, 1.9 million RSF of future developments, 383,396 RSF of active redevelopments, and 1.0 million of operating RSF, presently 80% occupied.

The company also started development and redevelopment of four projects, totaling 609,797 RSF during the fourth quarter. Moreover, key development and redevelopment projects placed into service in the quarter included 63,774 RSF at its redevelopment project at 9877  Waples Street in the Sorrento Mesa submarket, which is fully leased to Cue Health Inc., as well as 96,463 RSF at its development project at the Alexandria Center for Life Science – San Carlos in its Greater Stanford submarket, which is leased to ChemoCentryx, Inc.

Liquidity

Alexandria exited 2020 with cash and cash equivalents of $568.5 million, up from the $446.2 million reported at the end of September 2020. The company had $4.1 billion of liquidity as of the end of the fourth quarter. Net debt and preferred stock to adjusted EBITDA of 5.3x and fixed-charge coverage ratio of 4.6x mark the lowest and highest, respectively, in the past 10 years. The company has no debt maturities prior to 2024 and its weighted-average remaining term of debt as of Dec 31, 2020 is 10.6 years.

Outlook

Alexandria issued its guidance for 2021 FFO per share in the range of $7.60-$7.80. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is currently pinned at $7.71.

The company’s current-year guidance is backed by expectations for occupancy in North America (as of Dec 31, 2021) in the band of 95.6-96.2%, rental rate increases for lease renewals, and re-leasing of space of 29-32%, and same-property NOI growth of 1-3%.

Alexandria currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

We now look forward to the earnings releases of other REITs like AvalonBay Communities (AVB - Free Report) , Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA - Free Report) and Essex Property (ESS - Free Report) scheduled for this week.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.

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