Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

Apr 25, 2018 • 11:00 am ET

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Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good morning and welcome to Weingarten Realty First Quarter 2018 Earnings Call April 25th, 2018. My name is Brandon, and I'll be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct the question-and-answer session.

(Operator Instructions)

Please note this conference is being recorded.

And I'll now turn it over to Michelle Wiggs. Michelle, you may begin.

Executive
Michelle Wiggs

Good morning and welcome to our first quarter 2018 conference call. Joining me today is Drew Alexander, President and CEO; Johnny Hendrix, Executive Vice President and COO; Steve Richter, Executive Vice President and CFO; and Joe Shafer, Senior Vice President and CAO. As a reminder certain statements made during the course of this call are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.

These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors. More information about these factors is contained in the Company's SEC filings.

Also, during this call, management may make reference to certain non-GAAP financial measures such as funds from operations or FFO, both core and NAREIT, which we believe help analysts and investors to better understand Weingarten's operating results. Reconciliation to these non-GAAP financial measures is available in our supplemental information package located under the Investor Relations tab of our Web site.

I'll now turn the call over to Drew Alexander.

Executive
Drew Alexander

Thank you, Michelle, and thanks to all of you for joining us. I'm pleased to announce another good quarter. While the retailer environment remains challenging our portfolio performance shows the quality real estate prevails. This is especially true for neighborhood and community shopping centers with glossary components and merchant selling basic goods and services.

Further with dramatic improvements we made to our portfolio over the last seven years our tenant quality and location strength are significantly better. Coupled with that our balance sheet is stronger than ever, so there maybe challenges ahead but WRI is well positioned for future opportunities. As communicated our disposition program has been highly successful.

Thus far we sold $268 million of property in 2018, pricing seems to be holding for the most part of what we have in the market. We're selling property that ranks in the bottom of our portfolio and field with disposing these assets when our stock is selling at such a significant discount to our net asset value is the right thing to do.

With these disposition proceeds we have the ability to fund our new development and redevelopment projects, pursue quality acquisitions and repurchase debt or common shares, basically we're positioned to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves going forward, while maintaining our strong balance sheet.

While dispositions impact FFO in short-term, we believe it's the best long-term strategy for our shareholders. With respect to our new development and redevelopment activities West Alex, Central Arlington and the Whitaker are on track and