Despite bad weather and a nasty flu season, Health Care REIT (NYSE:WELL) on Friday reported solid first-quarter results. The healthcare property owner met analysts' consensus estimates and reiterated its full-year outlook. This was due to robust acquisition activity in the quarter as the company completed $2.2 billion in new investments.
Checking up on the numbers
Health Care REIT generated normalized funds from operations, or FFO, of $349.7 million, or $1.04 per share. That was up from FFO of $289.7 million, or $1 per share, in last year's first quarter and in line with analysts' estimate. The company also reported funds available for distribution, or FAD, of $311.1 million, or $0.92 per share, which was ahead of last year's $260.6 million, or $0.90 per share.
Impacting results was same-store net operating income for seniors housing operations, which was 3% for the quarter. This was negatively affected by rough winter conditions and a bad flu season. In addition, per-share results displayed weaker growth than on an absolute basis due to the company's $1.5 billion equity raise in February.
The company used that cash to keep its leverage in check while it completed its $2.2 billion in new investments. As a net result it ended the quarter with a decreased leverage ratio of 37.3%. This improvement in its balance sheet led to Health Care REIT's credit rating being upgraded during the quarter, which will lower its borrowing costs in the future.
Checking up on the portfolio
Health Care REIT's portfolio had an active quarter. The company completed $1.6 billion in acquisitions or joint ventures, and provided $101 million in development funding and another $484 million in loans. The company also placed $36 million in development property expansions into service and sold 10 properties for a total of $154 million, realizing a $55 million gain on the sale. Finally, it received a $10.6 million loan payoff, which included a $2.1 million early payoff fee.
About 81% of the investments made during the quarter were with a number of existing operating partners. The transactions involved a mix of senior housing communities, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient medical buildings in the U.S., U.K., and Canada . The company also made several notable investments with new operators -- it added private pay hospitals in the U.K. and newly constructed senior housing properties in the U.S. to its portfolio.
As a result of the busy first quarter, Health Care REIT reaffirmed its full-year forecast. The company expects to grow normalized FFO in a range of $4.25 to $4.35 per share, which would be 3%-5% higher than last year. Meanwhile, the company expects normalized FAD in a range of $3.83 to $3.93 per share, 5%-7% higher than last year. This guidance includes the impact of the company's recent equity raise and reduced leverage for 2015. However, it doesn't include the impact of any additional acquisitions in 2015.
Health Care REIT during the first quarter acquired several properties across the world while also improving its balance sheet via a well-received equity raise. That puts the company on pace to at least meet its full-year growth guidance, which has upside should the company complete additional acquisitions in 2015.