Q2 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 07/24/2012

Operator: Good afternoon. My name is Shirley, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Thank you.

Miss. Jeanne Leonard, you may begin your conference.

Jeanne A. Leonard - IR: Thank you, Shirley. Thank you everyone for tuning in today. You will hear prepared remarks from Chief Executive Officer, Bill Hankowsky; Chief Financial Officer, George Alburger; Chief Investment Officer, Mike Hagan; and Chief Operating Officer, Rob Fenza.

Liberty issued a press release on our results this morning. You can access this in the corresponding supplemental information package in the Investors' section of Liberty's website at In both documents, you will find a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures we referenced today to GAAP measures.

I will also remind you that some of the statements made during this call will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities law. Although Liberty believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that these expectations will be achieved.

As forward-looking statements, these statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expected results, risks that were detailed in the issued press release, and from time-to-time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events.

Bill, would you like to begin?

William P. Hankowsky - Chairman, President and CEO: Thank you, Jeanne, and good afternoon, everyone. The second quarter was another very strong quarter for Liberty. We leased over 5.4 million square feet, our best quarter in a year and a half and our third best quarter in the Company's history.

Occupancy increased by 20 basis points overall to 90.7%. Our renewal rate was over 60% and our retention rate was over 92%; the highest ever. We sold $209 million of real estate, which was 2.7 million square feet of predominantly suburban office and high-finish flex, including the large repositioning sale we've discussed over the last several calls.

We acquired over 600,000 square feet of predominantly industrial, value-add real estate in Minnesota and Phoenix, and our development pipeline continued to be strong with the addition of three new projects, bringing the pipeline to $310 million, a total of 3.3 million square feet.

Finally, a preferred redemption and an unsecured debt transaction further strengthened our already robust balance sheet. George, Mike and Rob will provide further color on all this activity in a moment.

So this was a solid quarter by any measure, but even more so given the weakening economic landscape. The second quarter saw monthly job growth average 75,000 per month, down two-thirds from the first quarter, with unemployment stuck at 8.2%. Business sentiment has softened and business uncertainty pervades, whether generated by Europe or by Washington. And yet the real estate markets have a bifurcated character to them. Small and mid-size local prospects are behaving more defensively given this environment, but larger, more corporate customers, and one might term these the (halve), are very active, thinking about long-term decisions, and in effect, playing offensively.

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