Cousins Properties Incorporated (NYSE:CUZ) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

Apr 26, 2018 • 10:00 am ET

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Cousins Properties Incorporated (NYSE:CUZ) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day. And welcome to the Cousins Properties First Quarter Conference Call. All participants are currently in listen-only mode (Operator Instructions). After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions (Operator Instructions). Please also note that this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Pam Roper. Please go ahead.

Executive
Pam Roper

Good morning. And welcome to Cousins Properties' first quarter earnings conference call. With me today are Larry Gellerstedt, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Colin Connolly, our President and Chief Operating Officer; and Gregg Adzema, our Chief Financial Officer.

The press release and supplemental package were made available on the Investor Relations Page of our Web site yesterday afternoon, as well as furnished on Form 8-K. In the supplemental package, the Company has reconciled all non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures in accordance with Reg G requirements.

Please be aware that certain matters discussed today may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws, and actual results may differ materially from these statements due to variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors. The Company does not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The full declaration regarding forward-looking statements is available in the press release issued yesterday, and a detailed discussion of some potential risks is contained in our filings with the SEC.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Larry Gellerstedt.

Executive
Larry Gellerstedt

Thanks, Pam, and good morning, everyone. The current economic recovery will celebrate its 9th anniversary in just a few weeks, marking the second longest span of growth and expansion in recorded US history. As the nation approaches this significant milestone, capital markets have begun to experience increased volatility. And for the first time since 2014, the 10 year hovers around 3%, putting pressure on REIT equity prices.

While the macro economic factors dominate global headlines, a different story is unfolding in the Sunbelt; business and consumer confidence remains very positive; office users are growing their footprints; more companies are migrating to the Sunbelt; and the new supply remains in check. As a result, well located Class A office spaces in high demand and our teams on the ground are busy as ever.

To highlight, let me walk you through the first quarter results. Overall, the Company delivered acclaimed $0.15 of FFO per share during the quarter, while posting positive leasing rent roll-up and same property NOI results to start of the year. In addition, the team executed 330,000 square feet of leases in the first quarter, including several key renewals. The solid effort on the leasing front reduced our near term expiration exposure, which is now just 11.3% through 2019.

More importantly it further upgraded our referral with average in place rents across the portfolio now 6% higher compared to this time last year. While these are terrific numbers for any quarter, I want to specifically highlight the consistency of these