Safehold Inc (NYSE:SAFE) Q1 2020 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Apr 23, 2020 • 10:00 am ET
on a number of fronts and would expect our better price, more efficient capital to be in demand once there's more clarity about the future. We expect deals put on hold may very well come back, and that existing customers will find the opportunities to deploy capital and seek our help in capitalizing those opportunities. As a result, we expect to be able to give a better sense of what new transaction volume might look like for the rest of the year by next quarter. As for the existing portfolio, all of our ground leases paid in April is expected.
100% payment is, of course, natural given the ground leases placed in the capital structure, though that did not stop a very small percentage, less than 2% of customers, from asking if any deferral of rent were possible. While we give these requests due consideration, we also try to share with customers that one of the reasons we can provide long-term, low-cost capital for them is the steady performance of our ground lease portfolio in circumstances like these. Turning to the value of our existing portfolio, we are witnessing historic low yields in bonds of similar quality and maturity. Recent trades in our competitive set comprised of the highest quality long-maturity bonds have been in the low 3% area, and together with TIPS bonds trading at negative rates suggest our portfolio's mid-5% yield have become increasingly valuable. This is one reason we believe the value of our portfolio and our share price increased further during the quarter. Two other positives for the quarter I want to mention. First was the addition of our new CFO, Jeremy Fox-Geen, at the end of March. Jeremy comes to us from McKinsey North America and is already proven a valuable member of our senior management team.
Second, Brett Asnas was promoted to EVP, head of capital markets, where he continues to drive access to innovative capital to grow the business. Both moves mean we are well-positioned to pursue future growth once the virus impact abates and transaction activity returns. And with that, let me turn it over to Jeremy.
Thank you, Jay, and good morning, everyone. It's good to be here under the circumstances, and I'm excited to join such a game-changing company at this important time in its development. I'll turn to Slide 4 in our earnings deck, which summarizes the highlights for the first quarter. We saw meaningful revenue growth over the past year as we've continued to scale our business.
We strengthened our balance sheet by raising $150 million of equity capital and $259 million of long-term debt. And our stock performed well as we continued to execute our strategy and reinforce with our shareholders the value of a scaled and diversified portfolio of ground leases. Turning to our earnings on Slide 5, revenues for the first quarter grew to $40.2 million, up 84% from the first quarter last year. Revenues this period included the $3.6 million annual percentage rent we