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VEREIT: The Dividend Is Back And The New Business Plan Appears Sound

  • The new dividend effective in Q3 2015 is $0.1375 per common share per quarter or $0.55 per common share annually (6.4%).
  • VEREIT has adopted a four pillars business plan, which promises to put the company on a solid footing going forward.
  • VEREIT grew revenues by about 3.0% and AFFO by about 8.8% in Q2 2015.

American Realty Capital Partners Inc. (ARCP) has renamed itself VEREIT Inc. (NYSE:VER) and has re-instated its dividend at $0.1375 per common share per quarter ($0.55 or 6.4% annually). It has identified a "four pillars" plan to fix the problems in its businesses. The plan seems like a sound first step; and it addresses the most glaring weaknesses the current, more conservative management has found in the businesses. The previous "buy everything in order to grow" management team had left ARCP, now VEREIT, with perhaps too much risk in its portfolio.

VER has proposed a business plan composed of "four pillars". The first is the construction of an enhanced real-estate portfolio. The second is generating good returns from Cole Capital and re-establishing its brand value. The third is the balance sheet and moving towards investment grade metrics. The fourth is a sustainable dividend policy.

For the "first pillar" VER has identified that approximately 20% of its revenues are derived from leases with no rent increases. With a likely rising interest rate environment, VER thinks it should monetize at least some of these. In other words, these leases are a potential albatross for the company; and it wants to sell them without losing a lot of book value in the process. It wants to sell a portion of its restaurant portfolio. With a possible new recession looming, this might be an excellent area to diversify away from. I know I thought the Red Lobster deal was suspect. VER also wants to sell some of its non-core assets that have either physical location or credit concerns. Again this seems sensible. One has to applaud VER management for their tough and decisive actions. Approximately $960 million of the $1.8B to $2.2B in assets that VER wants to sell by the end of 2016 have already been sold; or they are under hard contract.