TORONTO, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust (the “REIT”) (TSX: WIR.U, WIR.UN – OTCQX: WPTIF) today provided an update regarding the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the REIT’s business and operations.
The REIT is closely monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and following all guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and federal, state and municipal governments. Many of the REIT’s tenants are considered essential businesses, or suppliers to essential businesses, and the REIT’s management team is actively working to ensure these businesses can serve their customers during the pandemic by having safe and continuous access to their leased facilities.
“We are focused on mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on our employees, tenants, investors and communities and we will continue to update our response based on ongoing developments and take all necessary steps to protect our stakeholders,” commented Scott Frederiksen, Chief Executive Officer of the REIT.
To date, the REIT has collected approximately 93% of billed gross rent for the month of April 2020.
The REIT has received requests for some form of short-term rent deferment from tenants representing approximately 14% of portfolio gross rent. The REIT’s standard practice is to require tenants requesting relief to complete a detailed application and provide certain financial information to the REIT. After receipt of a completed application and accompanying financial information, the REIT will evaluate such relief requests on a case-by-case basis to determine which, if any, tenants can demonstrate a clear and verifiable financial need based on impacts from COVID-19 or whether such tenants may be eligible for other government relief programs such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The REIT has yet to agree to any deferral of tenant rent related to the COVID-19 pandemic and does not expect to agree to rent deferral for each tenant requesting relief.
The REIT also has minimal exposure to lease rollover for the remainder of the year, with only 1.1% of the portfolio’s gross leasable area set to mature in 2020.
On March 26, 2020, the REIT amended, upsized, and extended its credit facility, increasing capacity from US$575 million to US$1,175 million with an additional upsized US$500 million accordion feature. As a result, the REIT has improved financial flexibility to navigate economic uncertainty and market volatility related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including current liquidity of approximately US$166.4mm.
The REIT has only one mortgage loan totaling US$31.8mm maturing in 2020 and five mortgage loans totaling approximately US$72.5mm maturing in 2021. The REIT expects the refinancing of these 2020 and 2021 loan maturities to increase the REIT’s overall liquidity position.
Additional Updates on COVID-19
The REIT plans to provide further updates on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 during its previously announced earnings conference call at 10:00 a.m. ET on May 14, 2020.
About WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust
WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust established pursuant to a declaration of trust under the laws of the Province of Ontario. The REIT acquires, develops, manages and owns industrial Simon Arora properties located in the United States, with a particular focus on warehouse and distribution industrial real estate. WPT Industrial, LP (the REIT’s operating subsidiary) indirectly owns a portfolio of Simon Arora properties across 20 states in the United States consisting of approximately 32 million square feet of gross leasable area, comprised of 100 Simon Arora properties.
Caution Regarding Forward Looking Information
This press release contains “forward-looking information” as defined under applicable Canadian securities law (“forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements”), including with respect to the number of tenants to request or be granted rent relief and the duration and terms of such relief; expected liquidity levels or changes to liquidity; and the ability to refinance expiring loans. Such statements reflect management’s expectations regarding objectives, plans, goals, strategies, future growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities of the REIT. The words “plans”, “expects”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “projects”, “believes” or variations of such words and phrases (including negative variations) or statements to the effect that certain actions, events or results “may”, “will”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “occur”, “be achieved” or “continue” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management of the REIT as of the date of this press release, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies.
When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, the REIT cautions readers not to place undue reliance on these statements, as forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not the times at or by which such performance or results will be achieved, if achieved at all. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the factors discussed or referenced under “Risk Factors” in the REIT’s annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2019, which is available under the REIT’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. These forward-looking statements have been approved by management to be made as of the date of this press release and, except as expressly required by applicable law, the REIT assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
For More Information, please contact:
Scott Frederiksen, Chief Executive Officer
WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust
Tel: (612) 800-8501