Critical Portfolio Triple-Net Leased to Leading “Do-It-Yourself” Retailer
W. P. Carey Inc. (NYSE: WPC), one of the largest net lease REITs specializing in corporate sale-leasebacks, build-to-suit transactions and the acquisition of single-tenant net lease properties, today announced the acquisition of a 36-property “Do-It-Yourself” (“DIY”) retail portfolio in the Netherlands from CRH plc for approximately $178 million (€153 million).
The portfolio is triple-net leased to the Dutch DIY group Intergamma B.V. (“Intergamma”) for a weighted average lease term of 15 years. The transaction closed on July 13, simultaneously with Intergamma’s acquisition of DIY retailer Van Neerbos Bouwmarkten (“VNB”).
• Market-leading company: Operating under the Gamma and Karwei brands, Intergamma and its franchisee-shareholders represent the leading DIY retailer in the Netherlands, with a history dating back more than 85 years.
• Critical operating properties in strategic locations: The 36-asset portfolio, comprising approximately 1.5 million square feet (141,000 square meters) of leasable area, represents approximately 80% of Intergamma’s owned retail footprint following its acquisition of DIY retailer VNB and is critical to its ongoing operations. The portfolio covers all key regional locations across the Netherlands with a concentration in the Randstad region, home to more than 40% of the Dutch population and the Netherland’s three largest cities — Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
• Long-term net leases with built-in rent growth: The triple-net leased portfolio has a weighted average lease term of 15 years and includes annual inflation-based rent escalations tied to Dutch CPI.
Arvi A. I. Luoma, Head of European Investments at W. P. Carey, said: “The Intergamma acquisition is a great example of a transaction that meets our established investment criteria and allows us to further diversify our portfolio with a market-leading tenant in a defensive industry that is largely insulated from e-commerce disruption. The critical operating assets are strategically located with easy access, excellent visibility and strong fundamental real estate value. This investment complements the existing strength of our European portfolio and brings long-term added value consistent with our broader diversification strategy.
“Over our 20-year history of investing in Europe, we have built a well-diversified portfolio that spans multiple industries and property types. Our ability to identify and structure complex deals, including transactions of this size and scope, together with our long-term investment outlook, continues to distinguish us from others in the market.”
Gino Sabatini, Head of Investments at W. P. Carey, said: “Our recognized expertise in both North America and Europe provides us with access to a wider pool of potential acquisitions than many of our peers and has allowed us to source and execute on attractive acquisitions in all phases of the market cycle. As we have throughout our 45-year history, we will continue to identify organizations looking to realize the value of their operating assets by working with an established, stable and well-capitalized sale-leaseback partner.”
Harm-Jan Stoter, CEO of Intergamma, said: “We are pleased to have W. P. Carey as our new long-term landlord. Now is an exciting time in the history of Intergamma and as we look to progress our own business strategy, I take comfort in knowing W. P. Carey has the financial resources and local asset management team to support our current and future real estate needs.”
W. P. Carey Inc.
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, W. P. Carey (NYSE:WPC) ranks among the largest diversified net lease REITs with an enterprise value of over $10 billion and a portfolio of operationally-critical commercial real estate totaling 886 properties covering approximately 85 million square feet. For over four decades the Company has invested in high-quality single-tenant industrial, warehouse, office and retail properties subject to long-term leases with built-in rent escalators. Its portfolio is located primarily in North America and Northern and Western Europe and is well-diversified by tenant, property type, geographic location and tenant industry.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. Federal securities laws. The comments of Mr. Luoma and Mr. Sabatini are examples of forward looking statements. A number of factors could cause W. P. Carey’s actual results, performance or achievement to differ materially from those anticipated. Among those risks, trends and uncertainties are the general economic climate; the supply of and demand for commercial properties; interest rate levels; the availability of financing; and other risks associated with the acquisition and ownership of properties, including risks that the tenants will not pay rent, or that costs may be greater than anticipated. For further information on factors that could impact W. P. Carey, reference is made to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe
By David Milliken and William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below zero later this year or in 2022 if a recovery in the economy disappoints, especially if there is persistent unemployment, policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday.
Vlieghe said he thought the likeliest scenario was that the economy would recover strongly as forecast by the central bank earlier this month, meaning a further loosening of monetary policy would not be needed.
Data published on Friday suggested the economy had stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown hit retailers last month, while businesses and consumers are hopeful a fast vaccination campaign will spur a recovery.
Vlieghe said in a speech published by the BoE that there was a risk of lasting job market weakness hurting wages and prices.
“In such a scenario, I judge more monetary stimulus would be appropriate, and I would favour a negative Bank Rate as the tool to implement the stimulus,” he said.
“The time to implement it would be whenever the data, or the balance of risks around it, suggest that the recovery is falling short of fully eliminating economic slack, which might be later this year or into next year,” he added.
Vlieghe’s comments are similar to those of fellow policymaker Michael Saunders, who said on Thursday negative rates could be the BoE’s best tool in future.
Earlier this month the BoE gave British financial institutions six months to get ready for the possible introduction of negative interest rates, though it stressed that no decision had been taken on whether to implement them.
Investors saw the move as reducing the likelihood of the BoE following other central banks and adopting negative rates.
Some senior BoE policymakers, such as Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, believe that adding to the central bank’s 875 billion pounds ($1.22 trillion) of government bond purchases remains the best way of boosting the economy if needed.
Vlieghe underscored the scale of the hit to Britain’s economy and said it was clear the country was not experiencing a V-shaped recovery, adding it was more like “something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery.”
“I want to emphasise how far we still have to travel in this recovery,” he said, adding that it was “highly uncertain” how much of the pent-up savings amassed by households during the lockdowns would be spent.
By contrast, last week the BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, likened the economy to a “coiled spring.”
Vlieghe also warned against raising interest rates if the economy appeared to be outperforming expectations.
“It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
Higher interest rates were unlikely to be appropriate until 2023 or 2024, he said.
($1 = 0.7146 pounds)
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)
UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit
By William Schomberg and David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month hit retailers, and business and consumers are hopeful the vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday.
The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions.
A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.
Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.
The central bank expects a strong subsequent recovery because of the COVID-19 vaccination programme – though policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said in a speech on Friday that the BoE could need to cut interest rates below zero later this year if unemployment stayed high.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s lockdown but has said any easing of restrictions will be gradual.
Official data for January underscored the impact of the latest lockdown on retailers.
Retail sales volumes slumped by 8.2% from December, a much bigger fall than the 2.5% decrease forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the second largest on record.
“The only good thing about the current lockdown is that it’s no way near as bad for the economy as the first one,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
The smaller fall in retail sales than last April’s 18% plunge reflected growth in online shopping.
BORROWING SURGE SLOWED IN JANUARY
There was some better news for finance minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce Britain’s next annual budget on March 3.
Though public sector borrowing of 8.8 billion pounds ($12.3 billion) was the first January deficit in a decade, it was much less than the 24.5 billion pounds forecast in a Reuters poll.
That took borrowing since the start of the financial year in April to 270.6 billion pounds, reflecting a surge in spending and tax cuts ordered by Sunak.
The figure does not count losses on government-backed loans which could add 30 billion pounds to the shortfall this year, but the deficit is likely to be smaller than official forecasts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said.
Sunak is expected to extend a costly wage subsidy programme, at least for the hardest-hit sectors, but he said the time for a reckoning would come.
“It’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this,” he said.
Some economists expect higher taxes sooner rather than later.
“Big tax rises eventually will have to be announced, with 2022 likely to be the worst year, so that they will be far from voters’ minds by the time of the next general election in May 2024,” Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.
Public debt rose to 2.115 trillion pounds, or 97.9% of gross domestic product – a percentage not seen since the early 1960s.
The PMI survey and a separate measure of manufacturing from the Confederation of British Industry, showing factory orders suffering the smallest hit in a year, gave Sunak some cause for optimism.
IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the improvement in business expectations suggested the economy was “poised for recovery.”
However the PMI survey showed factory output in February grew at its slowest rate in nine months. Many firms reported extra costs and disruption to supply chains from new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the European Union since Jan. 1.
Vlieghe warned against over-interpreting any early signs of growth. “It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
“We are experiencing something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery. We are clearly not experiencing a V-shaped recovery.”
($1 = 0.7160 pounds)
(Editing by Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)
Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output
By Devika Krishna Kumar
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Brent crude futures were down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $63.60 a barrel by 11:06 a.m. (1606 GMT) U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1%, to $59.92.
This week, both benchmarks had climbed to the highest in more than a year.
“Price pullback thus far appears corrective and is slight within the context of this month’s major upside price acceleration,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.
Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.
Companies were expected to prepare for production restarts on Friday as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.
“While much of the selling relates to a gradual resumption of power in the Gulf coast region ahead of a significant temperature warmup, the magnitude of this week’s loss of supply may require further discounting given much uncertainty regarding the extent and possible duration of lost output,” Ritterbusch said.
Oil fell despite a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the big freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]
The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Still, analysts did not expect near-term reversal of sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the previous U.S. administration.
“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)
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