Douglas Emmett Earnings Call Nuggets: Cash Re-Leasing Spread and Acquisitions Pipeline

Douglas Emmett, Inc. (NYSE:DEI) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Cash Re-Leasing Spread

Michael Knott – Green Street Advisors: A question for Ted or Jordan on cash re-leasing spread the minus 8 for 2Q. Just curious, where you see that trending for the rest of the year because that that data point seemed a little better than we might have expected since it seems like the peak year for that number to be the most negative this year?

Jordan L. Kaplan – President and CEO: I’m sure that it’s going to be trend into a positive direction. It’s a very tough statistic to get completely positive because it’s always being compared to something that’s probably 12%. The ending rent typically in a lease like ours is going to be 12% higher than the beginning rent. We’re comparing the old leases ending rent to the new leases beginning rent. But with that said, the trend is definitely going in the right direction, and from what we’re seeing in terms of rental rates, as well as what’s rolling off in the past you think it would just continue to improve. Now I want to say – so improving would be my answer with this one caveat. Quarter-by-quarter these numbers jump around. I mean they really jump around, because depending on which leases you do, depending on whether someone renews early or whether now in some of our markets we’re extremely well leased and so we’re starting to lease space that maybe sat empty for a while, right. So, you are comparing to something that might be little – come from a little older day. So, that’s also going to cause that to bounce around. But in general, whether it be the straight line calculation, the beginning rent calculation or the ending to the beginning calculation, they are all going in the right direction and on the long look, we expect them to continue that way.

Michael Knott – Green Street Advisors: Second question would just be – can you touch on the leasing cost for this quarter. It seems like that metrics remains fairly elevated, still pretty high. Can you just sort of reconcile that data point against the idea that you are pushing net effective rents and seeing increases across the portfolio?

Theodore E. Guth – CFO: Well, I think our HTIs and leasing commission per square foot per year still are well below the average of our peers. But they also fluctuate from quarter-to-quarter, so while they are up this quarter, if you go back to the fourth quarter of last year, they are about the same as they are this quarter. So, I think we see primarily almost all of that in just quarterly fluctuations. There is a little bit of a trend line in the sense that as you have higher lease rates you are going to have higher leasing commissions because they are based on a percentage. As Jordan mentioned, as we move to lease up space that hasn’t been leased for a while because the occupancy is up, there may be sometimes when there should be a little more TIs. But in general we still think that our leasing and TI commissions are going to be in trend and well below our peers.

Jordan L. Kaplan – President and CEO: With the increasing rental rates on a net effective basis it’s all improving.

Acquisitions Pipeline

Jordan Sadler – KeyBanc Capital Markets: I’d like to follow-up on Jordan, one of your closing comments. I think you mentioned sort of the potential for acquisitions. Love to hear sort of, what you are alluding to or seeing the market that sort of drives the optimism?

Jordan L. Kaplan – President and CEO: Well, I am looking at our pipeline and these are singles and doubles. I am not talking about giant home runs but I see deals out there that I feel – I’m feeling better that we are going to start – as we have already been doing we are going to start getting deals closed in a little bit more regular pattern, if you will than happened during the last let’s call it year or two. So, my optimism is that I think we are going to – there are buildings coming for sale or that are for sale that I feel we are going to end up with.

Jordan Sadler – KeyBanc Capital Markets: Sellers getting a little nervous with the move in rates?

Jordan L. Kaplan – President and CEO: I don’t know if that’s the case, I think there is just – I think more of what’s happening is, given where values are, are back to an area that sellers are more comfortable with. They don’t feel like they are selling out or selling super short. And at the same time, I think for a buyer whether it’d be us or someone else, the kind of visibility of the fundamentals going forward is feeling more comfortable too and it’s just causing people to meet at a price more often than we were over the last couple of years. So, we are not the only ones that to think more transactions are going to start happening.

Jordan Sadler – KeyBanc Capital Markets: As a follow-up just how do you size a potential credit facility, Ted, and what you’re thinking?

Theodore E. Guth – CFO: I think it’s probably going to be in the normal size of one of our loans, call it, 250, 300 somewhere in that range.

Jordan Sadler – KeyBanc Capital Markets: Is this a third quarter event potentially?

Theodore E. Guth – CFO: I don’t think so. It’s not – I don’t think we are – it all depends on what happens with things, but I think it’s more likely to be later than that.

Jordan L. Kaplan – President and CEO: We are not feeling rushed about it. We are working on it, but we have time and organize the portfolio of properties. We are doing at the way we’ve done the ones in the past.

A Closer Look: Douglas Emmett Earnings Cheat Sheet>>