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Bill Ackman Comments on The Howard Hughes Corp

HHC (NYSE:HHC)'s first half results continue to highlight the strength of its core master planned communities (MPCs) and stabilized income-producing commercial properties. Summerlin and Bridgeland, HHC's two MPCs with the largest value of unsold residential land, continue to perform extremely well. Bridgeland has seen rapid acceleration of land sales, which reflects the steady maturation of the community and its desirability to new homeowners.

In addition to residential land sales, HHC has a significant, under-appreciated profit opportunity in the commercial development of its MPCs. As MPCs reach a tipping point of residential density, demand arises for retail, office, multi-family and hospitality development in HHC-owned MPC town centers. Over time, the stable and recurring real estate cash flows (net operating income or NOI) from these properties will represent a growing percentage of HHC's value. We believe that HHC's current NOI represents only a fraction of the long-term opportunity, and expect the company to continue to capitalize on its decades-long commercial development pipeline.

HHC is also demonstrating significant progress in its Ward Village and Seaport assets. Ward Village's two most recent condo towers developments are experiencing strong pre-sales momentum. The robust pace of sales across the six Ward Village condo towers that are either delivered or under construction reaffirms the strong appetite for HHC's planned future condo projects in the area, which should accelerate over the coming years.

The Seaport is closer to achieving a critical mass of offerings that will enable it to generate sustained NOI performance. Traffic in the Seaport increased about 50% year over year driven by new restaurant and store openings. HHC completed a $250 million five-year term loan secured by a portion of the property. This highly strategic financing provides non-recourse capital to fund remaining development while reducing HHC's equity commitment to the Seaport.

HHC's stock has increased 33% year-to-date. On June 27th, the company announced that the Board of Directors is conducting a broad review of strategic alternatives. A wide range of options is being considered including a sale of the company; a sale, joint venture or spin-off of a portion of the company's assets; a recapitalization of the company; or changes in the corporate structure of the company. The Board has retained Centerview Partners to assist in its strategic review. We continue to believe that HHC trades at a significant discount to its intrinsic value, and look forward to the results of the strategic review.



From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s second-quarter 2019 Pershing Square shareholder letter.
This article first appeared on GuruFocus.