After the market closed on Wednesday, Realty Income (NYSE: O) published its results for the first quarter of 2015, reporting adjusted funds from operations of $0.67 per share. This matched Zacks Investment Research's consensus estimate, and represents an increase of 4.7% over the same figure last year.
A pair of major milestones
Realty Income hit two major milestones during the first quarter, said said CEO John Case:
First, in January, we were recognized for increasing our dividend for 20 consecutive years by being added to the exclusive S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index. Then, in April, we were added to the S&P 500 index, joining this group of premier, large-cap, publicly traded companies.
The company also continued their trend of consistent dividend increases, raising their dividend for the 70th consecutive quarter. This was a 2.6% increase in their monthly dividend of $0.547 in the first quarter of 2014 to $0.561 today.
During the first quarter, Realty Income invested $239.9 million in 83 new properties, which brings the company's total portfolio of single-tenant commercial properties to 4,378.
The tenants occupying the new properties operate in 12 industries, and the property types consist of 74% retail and 26% industrial and distribution, based on rental revenue.
Most interesting, following the close of the first quarter, Case suggested:
[W]e closed an additional $302 million in acquisitions. We are pleased with our completion of $512 million in acquisitions during the first four months of the year and with the investment opportunities we continue to see in the acquisitions market.
This strong push following the close of the quarter leads Case to believe that Realty Income will finish the year toward the "high end of our previous 2015 acquisitions guidance range of $700 million to $1 billion."
Realty Income's total portfolio has an average remaining lease length of 10.1 years, and an occupancy rate of 98% -- which is down from 98.3% a year ago.
Over the course of the quarter, Realty Income had 64 lease expirations. The company was able to release 43 of these properties, and sold five vacant ones. Of the properties that were released, 30 were released to existing tenants and the remaining 13 to new tenants. At quarter end, this leaves, including previously vacant properties, a total of 86 properties unoccupied.
For the remainder of the portfolio -- which excludes recently released and vacant properties -- same-store rents on those 3,695 properties increased 1.4% to just over $200 million, compared to $198 million the same time last year.
Because of the fairly modest increase in same-store rent -- which is typical for the long-term leases (10-20 years) Realty Income uses -- the company depends on acquisition volume to grow the businesses.
Currently, Realty Income has a $1.5 billion revolving credit facility -- short-term funding for acquisitions the company can pull on at any time -- of which, approximately $1.1 billion is available. In short, given the investment opportunity management suggests they are seeing and its ample available funding, Realty Income looks to be in a strong position moving forward.