RALEIGH, NC – February 9, 2016 – Highwoods Properties, Inc. (NYSE:HIW) today reported its fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial and operating results.
Ed Fritsch, President and CEO, stated, “2015 was another strong year for Highwoods. We generated 6.2% year-over-year growth in per share FFO, achieved 6.7% growth in same property cash NOI and delivered year-end occupancy of 93.1%. Our fourth quarter operational performance was also solid, with FFO per share of $0.82, including a penny of land sale gains. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, same property cash NOI was up 4.4% and same property average occupancy was up 120 basis points. We also leased over one million square feet of second generation office space at an average term of 6.9 years.
“Atop a solid fundamental performance, we are further strengthening our BBD franchise with our current $546 million development pipeline that is 70% pre-leased, our $427 million value-add acquisitions of Monarch Tower and Plaza in Buckhead and SunTrust Financial Centre in CBD Tampa, and our $660 million contract to sell our retail-centric, Country Club Plaza assets at a 4.7% blended cap rate. Selling the Plaza, which is scheduled for March 1st, will drive our leverage ratio under 40%, further simplify our business model and reduce our annual G&A spend. We will use $430 million of the proceeds to effectively fund the Monarch and SunTrust acquisitions and will have $220 million of dry powder to reinvest in additional BBD assets at attractive spreads and/or use for other general corporate purposes.”
Fourth Quarter 2015 Highlights
- Earned FFO of $0.82 per share
- Grew same property cash NOI by 4.4% year-over-year
- Increased occupancy to 93.1% at year-end, a 120 basis point increase from year-end 2014
- Leased over one million square feet of second generation office at an average term of 6.9 years, 19% longer than the prior five-quarter average
- Grew average in-place office cash rents per square foot by 5.5% year-over-year
- Achieved GAAP rent growth of +10.6% on second generation office leases signed
- Agreed to sell substantially all of its wholly-owned Country Club Plaza (the “Plaza”) assets for $660M
- Paid off $112M of secured debt (6.9% weighted average interest rate) scheduled to mature in 2016, growing unencumbered NOI to 91%
- Issued 744,000 shares of common stock through its ATM program at an average gross sales price of $43.54 per share, raising net proceeds of $31.9M
- Ended the year with leverage of 44.9% and a debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 6.1x
The Company will develop CentreGreen III, a LEED-certified, multi-customer office building in Weston, one of the Raleigh area’s BBDs. The project will encompass 167,000 square feet with structured parking. The Company’s projected investment is $40.9 million, including the value of existing Company-owned land. Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016, with a targeted completion in the third quarter of 2017 and a targeted stabilization in the third quarter of 2019.
Fritsch noted, “Weston is an established and highly-desirable infill location with users in need of additional space. Our 1.3 million square feet in the mixed-use Weston PUD, which includes our two recently delivered MetLife buildings, is currently 98% occupied.”
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