European Residential REIT Accelerating into 2022 with the Announcement of Strong Year End 2021 Results

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust ("ERES" or the "REIT") (TSX: ERE.UN) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2021.

ERES’s audited consolidated annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") for the year ended December 31, 2021 can be found at www.eresreit.com or under ERES's profile at www.sedar.com.

ACCELERATING INTO THE FUTURE

  • Exceptional growth in investment property portfolio value, increasing by 26%
  • Portfolio rental growth of 5.0% versus prior year, including 3.8% on stabilized assets 
  • Portfolio Net Operating Income increase of 12%, including 5% on stabilized contribution
  • FFO and AFFO per Unit increased significantly, up by 13% and 12%, respectively, versus the prior year
  • Distribution increase of 5% over 2021, with additional 9% increase announced going forward in 2022

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Business Update

  • The REIT closed on five acquisitions in the Netherlands for a combined purchase price of €162.5 million (excluding transaction costs and fees), representing an aggregate 499 residential units across 13 properties, increasing its unit count by 8%.
  • Mortgage financings were secured for all the REIT's 2021 acquisition properties, combined with refinancing of certain existing properties, in the total principal amount of €156.6 million. The new mortgage financings mature on October 1, 2027, and carry a weighted average interest rate of 1.16%, which lowered the REIT's overall weighted average mortgage effective interest rate by 9 basis points to 1.52%.
  • On February 23, 2021, the Board of Trustees approved an increase of 5% to the REIT's monthly distribution from its previous rate of €0.00875 per Unit (equivalent to €0.105 per Unit annualized) to €0.00917 per Unit (equivalent to €0.110 per Unit annualized).

Outperforming Operating Metrics

  • Strong operating results accelerated for the year ended December 31, 2021, fuelled by accretive acquisitions, ongoing strong rental growth and margin expansion. Stabilized portfolio Occupied Average Monthly Rent ("AMR") increased by 3.8%, from €896 as at December 31, 2020, to €930 as at December 31, 2021, demonstrating the REIT's achievement of rental growth at the higher end of its target range, despite various developments in the regulatory regime.
  • Turnover was 13.9% for the year ended December 31, 2021, with rental uplift on turnover accelerating to 16.3%, versus rental uplift of 9.9% on comparable turnover of 14.2% in the prior year.
  • Occupancy for the residential properties increased to 98.6% as at December 31, 2021, compared to 98.3% as at December 31, 2020. A significant proportion (76%) of residential vacancy in the current period is due to renovation, which will provide further rental uplifts once the suites are leased.
  • Net Operating Income ("NOI") increased by 11.7% for the year ended December 31, 2021, primarily driven by contribution from accretive acquisitions as well as the aforementioned higher monthly rents and lower property operating costs as a percentage of revenues. In aggregate, this supported the strong increase in NOI margin to 77.4% compared to 76.2% for the year ended December 31, 2020, which the REIT anticipates will be reflected in an increase to its normalized annual NOI margin.

Consistent Fair Value Appreciation on Portfolio

  • The fair value of the REIT's property portfolio increased by 26% to €1.86 billion as at December 31, 2021, consisting of €1.76 billion in multi-residential properties and €0.10 billion in commercial properties. The increase was comprised of €19.5 million in capital investment, €172.6 million in property acquisitions and a significant fair value gain of €194.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The annual increase in market value was driven by steady and strong portfolio fundamentals resulting in a compression of capitalization rates, down 28 basis points to 3.33% on its residential properties, as well as the successful execution of the REIT's value-adding capital expenditure program and the REIT's exceptional operating metrics, including its continually increasing rental revenues, consistently high occupancy and strong cost control.

Accretive Financial Performance

  • Funds From Operations ("FFO") per Unit increased significantly by 13.3% to €0.153 for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to €0.135 in the prior year, due to the positive impact of accretive acquisitions as well as increased NOI contribution.
  • Adjusted Funds From Operations ("AFFO") per Unit similarly increased significantly by 12.4% to €0.136 for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to €0.121 in the year ended December 31, 2020.
  • AFFO Payout Ratio was 80.4% for the year ended December 31, 2021, at the lower end of the REIT's long-term target range and down from 87.0% in the prior year.

Strong Financial Position with Ample Liquidity

  • On October 29, 2021, the REIT amended and renewed its existing Revolving Credit Facility (defined herein), providing up to €100.0 million for a three-year period ending on October 29, 2024.
  • On March 10, 2021, the REIT extended its €165 million Pipeline Agreement with Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust ("CAPREIT") for an additional two-year period ending on March 29, 2023, under the same terms and conditions.
  • Overall, liquidity and leverage remain strong, supported by the REIT's staggered mortgage profile with a four-year weighted average term to maturity and a weighted average effective interest rate of 1.52%. The REIT has immediately available liquidity of €39.4 million as at December 31, 2021, and its total debt to gross book value is 46.8%.

Subsequent Events

  • On December 29, 2021, the REIT entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a multi-residential property comprised of 201 suites located in Arnhem, the Netherlands, for a purchase price of €45.0 million (excluding transaction costs and fees), with estimated closing in early 2022.
  • On January 31, 2022, the REIT acquired a multi-residential property comprised of 45 suites located in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, for a purchase price of €19.5 million (excluding transaction costs and fees).
  • On February 17, 2022, the Board of Trustees approved an increase of 9% to the REIT's monthly distribution to €0.01 per Unit (equivalent to €0.120 per Unit annualized), effective for the REIT's next monthly distribution in respect of March 2022. Distributions will continue to be paid to Unitholders of record on each record date, on or about the 15th date of the month following the record date.

"Throughout the entirety of 2021, ERES has out-performed on all of its operational and financial metrics. We set ambitious targets, and we consistently exceeded those targets in every capacity, every time," commented Phillip Burns, Chief Executive Officer. "We will not only continue to enhance our performance in the new year, but also accelerate the accretive growth momentum established to date. We are excited to set the bar even higher in 2022, and to that end, the best is yet to come."

OPERATING METRICS CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN

Total PortfolioSuite CountNet AMR/ABROccupied AMR/ABROccupancy %
As at December 31,2021202020212020AMR20212020AMR20212020
   % Change% Change  
Residential Properties6,5456,0479278825.19418965.098.698.3
Commercial Properties1  17.617.617.617.6100.0100.0

1 Represents 450,911 square feet of commercial gross leasable area.

Stabilized PortfolioSuite Count1Net AMR/ABROccupied AMR/ABROccupancy %
As at December 31, 20212020AMR20212020AMR20212020
  % Change% Change  
Residential Properties6,0469188824.19308963.898.798.3
Commercial Properties2 17.617.617.617.6100.0100.0

1 Represents all properties owned by the REIT continuously since December 31, 2020, and therefore excludes 13 residential properties (499 suites) acquired and 1 suite disposed in the subsequent period to date.
2 Represents 450,911 square feet of commercial gross leasable area.

Net and Occupied AMR for the total multi-residential portfolio increased by 5.1% and 5.0%, respectively, while Net and Occupied AMR for the stabilized portfolio increased by 4.1% and 3.8%, respectively, compared to the prior year. The increases were driven by increased rents on annual indexation, turnover and conversion of regulated suites to liberalized suites. The REIT's achievement of growth in rental revenues at the high end of its target range of 3% to 4% demonstrates its ability to consistently and profitably operate in a complex and fluid regulatory regime.

For the Three Months Ended December 31,20212020
 Change in
Monthly Rent
TurnoversChange in
Monthly Rent
Turnovers
 %%%%
Regulated suites turnover162.80.4101.50.6
Liberalized suites turnover15516.42.311311.62.6
Regulated suites converted to liberalized suites37756.70.334149.00.2
Weighted average turnovers16219.13.011012.33.4


For the Year Ended December 31,20212020
 Change in
Monthly Rent
TurnoversChange in
Monthly Rent
Turnovers
 %%%%
Regulated suites turnover183.21.7192.91.8
Liberalized suites turnover12513.210.4757.510.9
Regulated suites converted to liberalized suites30445.21.926136.81.4
Weighted average turnovers13616.313.9879.914.2

For the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, turnover was 3.0% and 13.9%, respectively, with average rental uplift (including service charge income) of 19.1% and 16.3%. This compares exceptionally well to average rental uplift (including service charge income) of only 12.3% and 9.9% on fairly stable turnover of 3.4% and 14.2% in the three months and year ended December 31, 2020, respectively. Rental uplifts were significantly higher on conversions, at 56.7% and 45.2% for the current quarter and year, compared to 49.0% and 36.8% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2020.

Total Portfolio PerformanceThree Months EndedYear Ended
 December 31,December 31,
 2021202020212020
Operating Revenues (000s) 20,029€ 18,01776,872€ 69,880
NOI (000s)15,640€ 13,89159,518€ 53,269
NOI Margin78.1%77.1%77.4%76.2%
Weighted Average Number of Suites6,2765,8976,1405,708

Operating revenues increased by 11.2% and 10.0% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively, primarily due to accretive acquisitions since the prior year periods and an increase in monthly rents on the stabilized portfolio, as described above.

NOI increased by 12.6% and 11.7% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively, likewise driven by contribution from acquisitions since the prior year periods, higher monthly rents on stabilized properties and strong cost control. This was complemented by a decrease in property operating costs as a percentage of operating revenues, predominantly due to utilization of a rebate from the government for landlord levies. In aggregate, total portfolio NOI margin increased to 78.1% and 77.4% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively, compared to 77.1% and 76.2% in the prior year periods.

Excluding the impact of the landlord levy rebate, NOI margin on the total portfolio still increased to 77.3% and 76.6% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively. However, the REIT notes that effective January 1, 2022, the landlord levy tax rate has been reduced, and there is potential for its permanent abolishment in the medium term. Therefore, the REIT considers that its actual NOI margin for the year ended December 31, 2021 will be indicative of long-run performance, with an expectation that it will achieve an annual NOI margin in the increased range of 76% to 79% of operating revenues. This is further supported by the fact that the REIT's property operating costs are largely insulated from inflation — tenants are responsible for the majority of their own energy and other utility costs, the REIT has no employees and therefore no wage costs, and property management fees are a fixed percentage of operating revenues.

Stabilized Portfolio PerformanceThree Months EndedYear Ended
 December 31,December 31,
For the Year Ended December 31,2021202020212020
Operating Revenues (000s) 18,183€ 17,34471,584€ 68,992
NOI (000s)14,235€ 13,42555,436€ 52,694
NOI Margin78.3%77.4%77.4%76.4%
Stabilized Number of Suites15,6315,6315,6315,631

Includes all properties owned by the REIT continuously since December 31, 2019, and therefore does not take into account the impact of acquisitions or dispositions completed during 2020 or 2021.

The increase in stabilized NOI contribution by 6.0% and 5.2% for the three months and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively, compared to the prior year periods was primarily driven by higher operating revenues from increased monthly rents, as well as a reduction in operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenues, predominantly due to the recognition of the landlord levy rebate. Excluding the impact of the landlord levy rebate, stabilized NOI margin still increased to 77.5% and 76.6% for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively.

The REIT remains focused on continuing to further improve NOI and NOI margin in the long term through a combination of accretive and value-enhancing acquisitions, successful sales and marketing strategies to further improve revenues, and investment in capital programs to further reduce costs and enhance the quality and value of its portfolio. In addition, the REIT notes that its property operating costs are largely insulated from inflation, as tenants are responsible for the majority of their own energy and other utility costs, the REIT has no employees and therefore no wage costs, and property management fees are a fixed percentage of operating revenues. This further preserves the REIT's property operating costs and, combined with its strong growth in rental revenues, improves its normalized NOI margin.

Financial Performance
     
A reconciliation of net income to FFO is as follows:    
     
 Three Months EndedYear Ended
(€ Thousands, except per Unit amounts)December 31,December 31,
For the Year Ended December 31,2021202020212020
Net income and comprehensive income for the year45,204€ 12,51296,138€ 118,657
Adjustments:    
Fair value adjustments of investment properties(86,748)(4,387)(194,579)(46,006)
Fair value adjustments of Class B LP Units22,352(9,437)65,116(73,455)
Fair value adjustments of Unit Option liabilities129(293)180(576)
Interest expense on Class B LP Units3,9073,72815,51014,914
Deferred income taxes24,6276,04152,74416,383
Foreign exchange loss1285(1,726)3,2431,666
Net movement in derivative financial instruments(987)1,656(3,861)(1,370)
Acquisition research costs104310123
General and administrative expenses related to structuring234392
Current income tax related expenses pursuant to the Initial Acquisition3727727
Mortgage refinancing costs4187
Loss on disposition of investment properties513
FFO9,506€ 8,13735,449€ 31,241
FFO per Unit – basic50.041€ 0.0350.153€ 0.135
FFO per Unit – diluted50.041€ 0.0350.153€ 0.135
     
Total distributions declared6,363€ 6,05525,231€ 24,218
FFO payout ratio66.9%74.4%71.2%77.5%

1 Relates to foreign exchange movements recognized on remeasurement on Unit Option liabilities as well as on remeasurement of the REIT's US Dollar draw on the Revolving Credit Facility as part of effective hedge.
2 Adjustments to general and administrative expenses for structuring expenses in 2021 relate to tax restructuring with respect to the REIT's commercial properties acquired pursuant to the Initial Acquisition (defined herein).
3 Adjustments to current income tax related expenses pertain to finalization of the current income tax triggered by the Initial Acquisition in 2019, of which the majority will be reimbursed by CAPREIT.
4 Includes break fees and accelerated amortization of remaining deferred financing costs associated with the early prepayment and refinancing component of the REIT's mortgage which closed on September 29, 2021.
5 Includes Class B LP Units.

The table below illustrates a reconciliation of the REIT's FFO and AFFO:
     
 Three Months EndedYear Ended
(€ Thousands, except per Unit amounts)December 31,December 31,
For the Year Ended December 31,2021202020212020
FFO9,506€ 8,13735,449€ 31,241
Adjustments:    
Non-discretionary capital expenditure reserve1(928)(789)(3,712)(3,041)
Leasing cost reserve2(93)(89)(374)(358)
AFFO8,485€ 7,25931,363€ 27,842
AFFO per Unit – basic30.037€ 0.0310.136€ 0.121
AFFO per Unit – diluted30.037€ 0.0310.136€ 0.121
     
Total distributions declared6,363€ 6,05525,231€ 24,218
AFFO payout ratio75.0%83.4%80.4%87.0%

1 Non-discretionary capital expenditure reserve has been calculated based on the normalized annual 2021 forecast of €607 per weighted average number of residential suites during the period (2020 — annual 2020 budget of €533 per weighted average number of residential suites). The adjustments are based on the normalized forecast amount as the REIT considers this to be more normalized on a long-term basis and therefore more relevant (the prior year adjustments were based on the budget amount due to the REIT's deferral of certain non-discretionary capital expenditures for 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic).
2 Leasing cost reserve is based on annualized 10-year forecast of external leasing costs on the commercial properties.
3 Includes Class B LP Units.

The increases in FFO and AFFO were driven by the positive impact of increased stabilized NOI and accretive acquisitions since the prior year, in addition to the REIT's recognition of a rebate from the government for landlord levies payable.

FFO is a measure of operating performance based on the funds generated by the business before reinvestment or provision for other capital needs. AFFO is a supplemental measure which adjusts FFO for costs associated with capital expenditures, leasing costs, and tenant improvements. FFO and AFFO as presented are in accordance with the recommendations of the Real Property Association of Canada ("REALpac") as published in January 2022, with the exception of certain adjustments made to the REALpac defined FFO, which are: (i) acquisition research costs, (ii) general and administrative expenses related to structuring, (iii) current income tax related expenses pursuant to the Initial Acquisition (defined herein), and (iv) mortgage refinancing costs. FFO and AFFO may not, however, be comparable to similar measures presented by other real estate investment trusts or companies in similar or different industries. Management considers FFO and AFFO to be important measures of the REIT’s operating performance.

Other Financial Highlights 
  
For the Year Ended December 31,20212020
Weighted Average Number of Units - Basic1 (000s)231,032230,646
Closing Price of REIT Units2, 33.13€2.67
Closing Price of REIT Units (in C$)2$4.51$4.17
Market Capitalization (millions)1, 2, 3725€617
Market Capitalization (millions in C$)1, 2$1,043$962

1 Includes Class B LP Units.
2 As at December 31.
3 Based on the foreign exchange rate of 1.4391 on December 31, 2021 (foreign exchange rate of 1.5608 on December 31, 2020).

FINANCIAL POSITION REMAINS ROBUST AND CONSERVATIVE

As at December 31,20212020
Total Debt to Gross Book Value1,246.8%47.2%
Weighted Average Mortgage Effective Interest Rate1.52%1.61%
Weighted Average Mortgage Term (years)3.934.40
Debt Service Coverage Ratio (times)3,43.553.52
Interest Coverage Ratio (times)3,54.203.97
Available Liquidity639,437€ 101,917

1 Represents mortgage principal net of deferred financing costs (excluding the fair value adjustment on assumed mortgages) and bank indebtedness.
2 The REIT's Declaration of Trust limits the maximum amount of total debt to 65% of the gross book value ("GBV") of the REIT's total assets. GBV is defined as the gross book value of the REIT's assets as per the REIT's financial statements, determined on a fair value basis for investment properties.
3 For the rolling 12 months ended.
4 The debt service coverage ratio is defined in the REIT's Revolving Credit Facility as EBITDA less cash taxes, divided by the sum of principal repayment and interest expense (including on mortgages, the Revolving Credit Facility and the promissory note).
5 The interest coverage ratio is defined in the REIT's Revolving Credit Facility as EBITDA divided by interest expense (including on mortgages, the Revolving Credit Facility and the promissory note).
6 Includes cash and cash equivalents of €10.3 million and unused credit facility capacity of €29.1 million as at December 31, 2021 (cash and cash equivalents of €10.7 million and unused credit facility capacity of 91.2 million as at December 31, 2020).

ERES's liquidity and leverage remain strong, supported by the REIT's staggered mortgage profile with a four-year weighted average term to maturity and a weighted average effective interest rate of 1.52%. The majority of the REIT's mortgages are non-amortizing, and mature between 2022 and 2027. The REIT has immediately available liquidity of €39 million as at December 31, 2021, and its total debt to gross book value is 46.8%.

Management aims to maintain an optimal degree of debt to GBV of the REIT's assets depending on a number of factors at any given time. Capital adequacy is monitored against investment and debt restrictions contained in the REIT's fourth amended and restated declaration of trust dated April 28, 2020, and the amended and renewed credit agreement dated October 29, 2021, between the REIT and two Canadian chartered banks, providing access to up to €100.0 million (the "Revolving Credit Facility"). The REIT manages its overall liquidity risk by maintaining sufficient available credit facilities and available cash on hand to fund its ongoing operational and capital commitments and distributions to Unitholders, and to provide future growth in its business.

"Our financial position and liquidity remain strong, demonstrating the REIT's ability to continuously acquire and finance assets accretively," commented Stephen Co, Chief Financial Officer. "Since last year, our debt to gross book value ratio has decreased by four basis points to 46.8%, and our weighted average mortgage effective interest rate has also decreased by nine basis points to 1.52% as at December 31, 2021. In addition to this, including the Pipeline Agreement, the REIT currently has immediate access to over €200 million in liquidity, providing acquisition capacity in excess of €400 million that will fuel our growth as we forge ahead into 2022."

DISTRIBUTIONS
During the year ended December 31, 2021, the REIT declared monthly distributions of €0.00875 per Unit (equivalent to €0.105 per Unit annualized) in respect of January and February, and €0.00917 per Unit (equivalent to €0.110 per Unit annualized) thereafter, following an increase of 5% in the REIT's monthly distribution rate. Such distributions are paid to Unitholders of record on each record date, on or about the 15th day of the month following the record date. The REIT intends to continue to make regular monthly distributions, subject to the discretion of its Board of Trustees.

On February 17, 2022, the Board of Trustees approved an increase of 9% to the REIT's monthly distribution to €0.01 per Unit (equivalent to €0.120 per Unit annualized), effective for the REIT's next monthly distribution in respect of March 2022. Distributions will continue to be paid to Unitholders of record on each record date, on or about the 15th date of the month following the record date.

CONFERENCE CALL
A conference call hosted by Phillip Burns, Chief Executive Officer and Stephen Co, Chief Financial Officer, will be held on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 9:00 am EST. The telephone numbers for the conference call are Canadian Toll Free: 1 (833) 950-0062 / International: +1 (929) 526-1599. The Passcode for the call is 100174.

A replay of the call will be available for 7 days after the call, until Friday, February 25, 2022. The telephone numbers to access the replay are Canadian Toll Free: 1 (226) 828-7578 or International +44 (204) 525-0658. The Passcode for the replay is 583913.

The call will also be webcast live and accessible through the ERES website at www.eresreit.com — click on "Investor Info" and follow the link at the top of the page. The webcast will also be available by clicking on the link below:

https://events.q4inc.com/attendee/482805728

A replay of the webcast will be available for 1 year after the webcast at the same link.

The slide presentation to accompany management's comments during the conference call will be available on the ERES website an hour and a half prior to the conference call.

About European Residential Real Estate Investment Trust
ERES is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust. ERES's REIT Units are listed on the TSX under the symbol ERE.UN. ERES is Canada’s only European-focused multi-residential REIT, with a current initial focus on investing in high-quality multi-residential real estate properties in the Netherlands. ERES owns a portfolio of 152 multi-residential properties, comprised of 6,590 suites and ancillary retail space located in the Netherlands, and owns one office property in Germany and one office property in Belgium.

ERES’s registered and principal business office is located at 11 Church Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1W1.

For more information please visit our website at www.eresreit.com.

For further information:

Phillip BurnsStephen Co
Chief Executive OfficerChief Financial Officer
Email: p.burns@eresreit.com Email: s.co@eresreit.com

Category: Earnings

The REIT was formed on March 29, 2019, subsequent to a reverse acquisition by a previous subsidiary of CAPREIT, that resulted in CAPREIT having a majority ownership and control in the REIT (the "Initial Acquisition").

Certain statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws which reflect ERES’s current expectations and projections about future results. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “objective”, “may”, “will”, “expect”, “intent”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “consider”, “should”, “plans”, “predict”, “estimate”, “forward”, “potential”, “could”, “likely”, “approximately”, “scheduled”, “forecast”, “variation” or “continue”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. The forward-looking statements made in this press release relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this press release. Actual results and developments are likely to differ, and may differ materially, from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements as well as future results. Although ERES believes that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurances that the expectations of any forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Such forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be incorrect. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Except as specifically required by applicable Canadian securities law, ERES does not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing ERES’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

ERES uses financial measures regarding itself, such as adjusted funds from operations, that do not have standardized meaning under IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other entities (“non-IFRS measures”). Further information relating to non-IFRS measures, is set out in ERES’s annual information form dated March 30, 2021 under the heading “Non-IFRS Measures” and in ERES’s MD&A under the heading “Non-IFRS Financial Measures.”