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Safety, Income and Growth, Inc. (SAFE) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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Safety, Income and Growth, Inc. (NYSE: SAFE)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
Jul 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good morning, and welcome to Safehold's second-quarter 2019 earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the conference over to Jason Fooks, senior vice president of investor relations and marketing. Please go ahead, sir.

Jason Fooks -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Marketing

Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us today for Safehold's earnings call. With me today are Jay Sugarman, chairman and chief executive officer; Marcos Alvarado, president and chief investment officer. This morning, we plan to walk through a presentation of details of our second-quarter 2019 results.

Presentation will be found on our website at safeholding.com, and by clicking on the investor relations link. There will be a replay of the conference call beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time today, and the dial-in for the replay is 1 (800) 585-8367 with a confirmation code of 9345669. Before I turn the call over to Jay, I'd like to remind everyone that statements in this earnings call which are not historical facts may be forward-looking.

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Our actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements, and the risk factors that would cause these differences are detailed in our SEC reports. Safehold disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, except as expressed required by law. Now with that, I'd like to turn the call over to Chairman and CEO Jay Sugarman. Jay?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Jason. We continue to make excellent progress during the second quarter, setting us up for a strong second half of the year. Core metrics advanced, with revenue up 70% year over year, earnings per share up over 80% year over year, and the quality of our pipeline continuing to increase. Our message is clear and simple: the Safehold ground lease enables building owners to be more capital efficient, and more cost efficient, enabling them to achieve higher returns with lower risk.

Making a very large industry more efficient and delivering a better customer experience, and better customer results has been a consistent theme for some of the biggest and most successful companies in the country, and we believe we can join their ranks by delivering a nationally scaled, professionally managed platform that focuses on reinventing the ground lease industry and meeting the needs of today's real estate owners in a way never done before. Based on what we've seen over the first half of the year, we feel confident the message is breaking through. And as a result, we are raising our investment guidance to $1 billion for 2019, a 33% increase from our guidance at the beginning of the year. We hope to keep expanding to all the top 30 markets in the country and look forward to locking down many of the deals in our pipeline to demonstrate the range of our capabilities.

And while we're very focused on growing the investment side of our business, we are also importantly continuing to refine our capabilities on the capital side of the business, raising more efficient debt to fund our portfolio and expanding the number, and type of equity investors that we think will be attracted to what we're building. We believe a combination of principal safety, premium asset returns and a sizable capital gains potential embedded in our stock will prove attractive to a wide range of investors well beyond the real estate world, and we've begun planning to share with them our story as it reaches scale. With that, let me turn it over to Marcos to go through the quarter in more detail. Marcos?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

Thank you, Jay, and good morning, everyone. Let me start with Slide 4. Second quarter of 2019 was highlighted by strong year-over-year earnings growth of 237% as Safehold continues to gain traction with customers and penetrate a significant market opportunity. As Jay mentioned, we're raising our investment target from $750 million to $1 billion.

Additionally, we've continued to improve the right side of our balance sheet as we've recently closed on several assets financings that have meaningfully extended our debt maturity profile along with increasing the commitments on our revolving credit facility by $100 million. Slide 5 summarizes our earnings results. Revenues for the second quarter of this year jumped to $20 million, a 70% increase from the same period last year, while quarterly earnings per share grew 88%. At the end of the quarter, our aggregate portfolio stood at $1.1 billion, and the unrealized capital appreciation in our own residual portfolio, representing the value of the bricks and mortar sitting on top of our land, grew to $2.2 billion, a 60% increase from the same period last year.

Slide 6 is a review of our investment activity. During the second quarter, we signed up 5 new Safeholds totaling $186 million, of which $43 million closed during the quarter. The balance is signed, committed and expected to close in the coming weeks. You could see the key investment metrics on these transactions on the bottom half of the slide, which are consistent with our strategy of creating AAA equivalent risk.

These assets have a 5.7% effective yield with a 3.6 times coverage and a weighted average gross book value representing 39% of combined property value. Moving to Slide 7, we illustrate the growth of our pipeline. As we continue to gain momentum, our pipeline is growing nicely. We're encouraged by the deal flow we're seeing as we expand into new markets, reaching new high-quality customers, and educating them on the Safehold value proposition.

This growth in our pipeline has given us the confidence to increase our full-year investment target by $250 million to $1 billion, assuming the economic conditions remain consistent with today. You can see some of the key metrics associated with our pipeline on this slide that are consistent with our existing portfolio. Slide 8 provides a summary of our debt. We continue to improve the right side of our balance sheet to help facilitate the scale of Safehold.

During the second quarter and subsequent to quarter end, we closed $287 million of long-term debt across five separate non-recourse financings customized to the unique characteristics of our Safehold. The combined weighted averages of the financings this quarter have an initial cash interest rate of 3.1% and a 4.2% interest rate over the term of the debt, which has a weighted average maturity of 38 years. As it stands today, we have approximately $600 million of debt outstanding. Based on our recent activity, we have expanded our weighted average debt maturity from seven years at the end of last quarter to 23 years, giving us a clear runway with no mortgage maturities for eight years.

Presently, our debt has a 3.5% weighted average cash interest rate, and a weighted average interest rate of 4.1% over the term of the debt. Leverage stands at 1 times debt-to-equity. Subsequent to the quarter-end, we expanded our bank group and upsized our revolver capacity by $100 million to $450 million to supplement the growth of our franchise. Our revolver is currently undrawn.

Moving to Slide 9. During the second quarter, the unrealized capital appreciation in our own residual portfolio grew to $2.2 billion, increasing nearly five folds since our IPO in June of 2017. As a reminder, this metric represents today's estimated market value of the buildings on top of our land. In conclusion, it was a strong quarter, underscored by solid earnings, a larger pipeline, continued market penetration and an improved capital structure that should allow us to continue to scale the franchise.

We're certainly pleased to see the stock performance over the last few months as we believe investors are starting to recognize the opportunity and growing momentum. That being said, we believe we are only in the early stages of what we are building at Safehold. We will continue to educate a broad range of investors about the compelling combination of excess returns and growth embedded in our company. With that, I'll turn it back to Jay.

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Marcos. Let me just finish with a few finishing comments. We continue to believe we're at the beginning of an extraordinary opportunity to help modernize real estate ownership in this country. Our teams have been hard at work expanding our footprint, and helping make Safehold the go-to name wherever a value-enhancing ground lease is needed.

We look forward to telling our story and explain how our making the pie bigger approach can create compelling returns for our customers, and for our shareholders. OK, operator, let's go ahead and open it up for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you. [Operator instructions] Your first question comes from Anthony Paolone from JP Morgan. Your line is open.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you and good morning. Just a couple of questions on the deal volume and deal activity. First, the $1 billion that you've moved guidance up to, do you think that's money that's actually spent this year or do you think that will be commitments as well?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think, Anthony, you know we've said in the past, we can't control the timing. In fact, we've had a couple of customers ask us to delay closings, you know, well beyond when we actually had a deal signed, sealed and delivered. So we're comfortable saying we will close, and fund $1 billion this year based on what we see in the pipeline today.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. And these delays in terms of -- is it just timing, because the customer wants to just push it off a couple of months? Or, for instance, the volume that you did $186 million quarters, is that commitments that could take, you know, several quarters before the capital is actually put out the door?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No, two relatively idiosyncratic reasons, but it saved our customers money to just delay them slightly, and we're in a customer business, so we were happy to accommodate them.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. And then, how are yields holding up, given what's happened to interest rates the last several months?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's a great question. You know again, I think our goal is to deliver better returns with lower risk to our customers. We think there's a lot of cost efficiency, and a lot of capital efficiency that gives us a pricing umbrella inside where alternative financing is available to our customers. So we've seen, you know, a little bit of tightening in overall financing markets, but probably not as dramatic as you've seen in sort of base rates.

We'll see where the market goes, but I think, we continue to be a better alternative in lots of situations in our core kind of 3.5% starting rate, starting yield number, so we haven't seen a lot of erosion in that yet.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. And it -- with the larger pipeline that's emerging and stock has done well, how are you thinking about funding between equity, and also having your capacity to get your target leverage level? And then the additional element we'd would to hear about is just how to think about iStar, just consistent purchases of the equity and where that goes over time?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Look, I think we started the year with sufficient capital to meet our original guidance. After that it's all pretty much pipeline driven, how fast the deals are closing, what's the amount of volume. We do think, and you heard both Marcos and I mention that scale is critical for our business.

So we're a little less focused on, you know, exactly how things come in quarter by quarter, but we're very focused on reaching scale. So at least at this point, it'll be driven by the closing of transactions. We continue to believe the stock represents, you know, compelling value, and certainly are sensitive to that, but our end game here is to reach scale, to be the dominant player in what is a really revolutionary idea. So we'll see how the pipeline plays out and that'll dictate some of our capital decisions.

In terms of iStar, desire is to continue acquiring as much of Safehold as it can at these prices, you know that is something that iStar's board came to the conclusion. This is one of the most attractive businesses it'd seen. It made the large investment in January, and so long as the stock doesn't reflect what we think is full value, they continue to be, you know, an interested acquirer of shares. So it's a relatively small amount in the open market, but they do have the right to participate up to their pro rata share of any future capital raises.

So that will be the means through which it probably acquires, you know, significant amount in the future.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. And then just last question, more detail on the G&A popped up from 1Q to 2Q, can you just comment on what that number is likely to be around as a sort of run rate go-forward figure?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Just in terms of the jump there, at our annual meeting, our board members do receive a share grant that we expense in the quarter. So that's not a recurring item. You will see that every year for the -- during around our annual meeting.

You know, run rate, I think, you're going to start to see it stabilize. We think we're -- as we scale, we get real economies of scale, so we don't see G&A dramatically scaling with the business. But where it's been, and you know, on an annual basis, it's probably a good starting point.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

So the 1Q number is probably a little bit more of the base line, and 2Q just -- you know, if that happens once a year kind of thing?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. But we will be -- you know, we do make the director grants every year, so that -- well, you should factor that in. It's a one-time event just spread it over four quarters, so you could add a quarter of that for the first quarter. And we do have legal cost as we've continued to do R&D around the actual structures we're using.

You know again, as we get bigger, we think a lot of those costs becomes smaller and smaller. There is still a little bit of innovation cost that we're incurring, things that we're still learning how to do better, make more efficient. But I think if you look at a run rate over the last 12 months, those -- that's probably a better way to think about it than any individual quarter annualized.

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Rich Anderson from SMBC. Your line is open.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning, everyone. So on the financings, the $287 million, what was the range when you said 38 years on average? How high did you get at the top end of that range?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

50 years.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. And is that sufficient in your mind or could you see yourself going even higher if the opportunity presented itself?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

You know, the way we think about our financing is the cash-flow yields at the maturity are so high, so whether it was 30 years of duration or 50 years of duration, we don't think we have any real refinance risk. So that was an opportunistic execution for longer duration financing.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. In terms of the escalators, 55% are fixed with inflation adjustments, you know call it, 60% total fixed bumps. Do you see that percentage of fixed bump mass going higher as a percentage of the total over time?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

We do. All of our newly created Safeholds have a relatively consistent structure of a 2% annual bump. And so as we continue to scale our business with new originations and new Safeholds that will become a bigger piece of the portfolio.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. Maybe one for Jay here. Is there -- are there opportunities out there where you are purchasing an existing ground lease that is, let's call it, sketchy in its structure, some sort of, you know landmark to market that creates some problems for the leasehold that you can buy and restructure on behalf of the leasehold, and thereby really make your point, drive your point home about how Safehold is attempting to sort of reengineer this industry in, you know kind of, where -- right where the rubber meets the road. Is that something that's out there as a possibility in terms of the pipeline?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think that's excellent insight, Rich. We have done that already on a smaller deal. And we think it's a tool that will become something we can use more often going forward as people start to understand the differences between these archaic ground leases and how inefficient they are in the modern capital markets versus what Safehold is doing.

So it's definitely a tool in our toolbox. We've only been able to deploy it a little bit so far, but we definitely see uptake to do it on a bigger scale.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. Great.

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

Rich.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

Sure.

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

The reverse inquiry from existing leasehold owners to us about exactly what you're talking about has dramatically ticked up over the last six months.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. Good sign. When do you -- when are you willing to accept, you know, an effective yield or cap rate or a coverage ratio that's below what one might think of as your kind of target. So coverage for the deals in the second quarter was below 4%, 3% -- I think 3.6%, not making a big deal out of that, but what is it about the deals that we announced that allowed you to accept a rent coverage that was somewhat below your target?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, it's a little bit idiosyncratic as you might have suspect, the variables are quality, location, PPV percentage. So you -- we're taking all those factors into account and trying to make all of these become very attractive investments that UI and iStar, and our shareholders all like to own. But it's hard to tell you exactly what circumstances, you know, drive each individual pricing decision.

But I can tell you, when we close a deal, we feel like we have created a lot of value for shareholders, so that's the most consistent theme I can give you. But certainly, higher quality gateway markets, you know we're going to -- one of -- you know be a lot more thoughtful about how to craft that deal, and if it requires us to go a little higher in the CPV calculation or a little low in coverage, that's going to be fine depending on the other qualitative factors. We also have some assets that, you know clearly, we think have the potential to continue to grow their revenue streams or maybe repositioning opportunities. So you know we're looking at that entire set of variables, and ultimately the conclusion has to be, when we close this deal, we think we've made significant value for shareholders the day we close.

And that's really driving the business right now more than a set of rules that, again, in a customer-focused business, we do have core return parameters, but there are a lot of other factors in real estate, as you know, and we've got a lot of experts in the field making those real-time judgments.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

OK. And then last quick question, why did book equity decline second quarter versus first quarter?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I'll take a look at it. But you know I think, again, we did have some one-time cost in the second quarter. I'd have to look further, Rich. Apologies.

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

Not a big deal. It's something I noticed here. OK. Thanks, Jay.

That's all for me.

Operator

Your next question comes from Marnie Georges from Raymond James. Your line is open.

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. First question for me. How should we be thinking about the type of different assets that you'll be targeting in the pipeline on a go forward, the multifamily versus the industrial, for example.

Just, you know how are you thinking about that?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

This past quarter we closed our first student housing deal, which we're excited about. When I look at the pipeline, it is consistent with the portfolio that exist today. A lot of office, a lot of multifamily, we sprinkled in a few student housing transactions as well, and a hotel transaction. So generally consistent with the existing pipeline.

I will tell you, the quality of the assets, and the quality of our customers has improved in the pipeline, which is exciting for us as a franchise.

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Awesome. That's good to hear. And then just looking at MSAs, was there anything specific driving the decision to go into the organ market this quarter? You know are there any specific MSAs that you would be targeting in the near term or any of that you're looking to deepen your presence within?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

Yeah. Portland is a fantastic growth market. We're able to get our first deal in Portland. We actually as a franchise have some lending experience in that market, so we'll look to continue to grow in Portland.

As Jay mentioned, we have a target of getting into the 30 major MSAs.

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Great.

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

And a few more to tick off.

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Definitely. And then one more for me, just other income this quarter came in a little higher than we've been expecting, was there anything too bad or anything on a go forward that we should be aware of?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I wouldn't think so, but maybe some anomalies in there. But there shouldn't be, you know major changes in there.

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much. I'll turn it back over.

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

[Inaudible]

Operator

Your next question comes from Jade Rahmani from KBW. Your line is open.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

Thanks very much. Wanted to ask specific question about the portfolio. The Park Hotel's assets, how soon would be reasonable to expect conversations to commence between SAFE and the Park Hotel about a potential renegotiation?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Jade. Yeah. We're delighted with the performance of the portfolio but have not heard from the tenant. They do have a renewal right, which will extend them out to 2035.

And until it's on their radar, it's not, you know really something we can push and drive. But we're very happy with the performance of that asset.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

And in terms of the economics that you're currently -- the company is currently receiving from those assets, is it just some base level of rent right now of, I think, approximately $13 million annualized? And if the negotiation was not successful, let's say [Inaudible], the entire amount of NLI that those properties generate?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Look, those properties are making somewhere in the $30 million to $40 million range, and our rent is, I think, $10 million base and the rest is a small percentage rent was about $3 million, $3.5 million last year. So there's, you know, significant delta between what the properties make and what we get paid. And usually creates an opportunity to have a conversation with the tenant.

But it'll happen on the tenant's timetable. And each year, as we get closer to the maturity, we'll start taking a very hard look at the alternatives available to them, and frankly to us.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

OK. And in terms of the pipeline, can you give a sense for the average transaction size? Just given the originations that have been completed so far, I would assume that there is potentially some large outsized transactions in there?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Look, we haven't been shy about, you know, targeting some of the big -- bigger cities and some of the bigger assets. Again, they tend to be the ones that take much longer to get done. But we definitely made progress on that front.

And as Marcos said, we're penetrating some new product pipes, like student housing, that'll have lower balances, multifamily typically has been somewhat smaller. But you know it feels good, at least after the first six months of the year, good enough for us to want to raise our guidance. So you can tell we're feeling positive that we're making progress on those front.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

Just on the refinancings that you completed this quarter, what kinds of lenders participated in those? Were those foreign banks, insurance companies or some other lending type?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We're exploring. As I said, we're trying to make the right side of balance sheet as efficient as possible as well, so we're exploring conversations with a wide range of lenders. You know, I think the light company world is certainly one that understand the product, so that's been a good place to go.

But we will continue to probe a wide range of providers of capital because we think this ultra SAFE credit profile is one that's attractive to a lot of people.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

And just last question, can you specify what the going in cap rate is on the $186 million of deals that you put under contract this quarter?

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, you know our model is mid-three year-one yield, mid-5s return on asset, effectively IRRs. They were all pretty consistent with that.

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator instructions] Your next question comes from John Massocca from Ladenburg Thalmann. Your line is open.

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

Good morning.

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Good morning.

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

Good morning. Can you provide some additional color on the acquisitions closed or brought under PSA in the quarter? You gave some detail earlier on property type and transaction size, but maybe with regards to location beyond the Portland transaction? And also kind of specifically, how are these acquisitions being sourced? You know, Or how many are Safe ground leases versus maybe purchased existing ground leases?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

They're all Safehold's, so newly created. As we mentioned, student housing asset. First asset in Portland. There's a brand-new multifamily in the Orlando market, office building in the New York City MSA, and an office building in Austin, Texas.

So all great markets, great quality assets.

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

Very helpful. And then, maybe can you give us some additional color on trends with regards to rent coverage in the existing portfolio that was, kind of, in place at the beginning of the quarter? It seems like the overall coverage declined a little bit by, kind of, 0.2 turns. Some of that probably was the initial acquisitions you made, but was there anything that was going on in the existing portfolio?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

The existing portfolio is performing consistent with our expectations. It was the new acquisitions that were at slightly lower coverage that pulled that down.

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

And I always kind of mentioned it too because the number of assets for the over 5 times coverage came down by 8%. It seemed like bigger than what could be explained by the two transactions? Is there anything, kind of, in the super, kind of, high-coverage range that had, kind of, its underlying income covering your rent come down a little bit?

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

No. But we'll double check.

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

OK. That's it for me. Thank you very much.

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Mr. Fooks, we have no other questions.

Jason Fooks -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Marketing

OK. Great. So if anyone else should have any additional questions on today's earnings release, please feel free to contact me directly. Jacqueline, would you please give the conference call replay instructions once again?

Operator

Thank you for participating in today's Safehold's second quarter 2019 earnings conference call. This call will be available for replay beginning at 1 pm Eastern Standard time today through 11:59 pm Eastern Standard time on August 9th, 2019. The conference ID number for the replay is 9345669. And the number to dial in for the replay is 1 (800) 585-8367.[Operator signoff]

Duration: 32 minutes

Call participants:

Jason Fooks -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Marketing

Jay Sugarman -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Marcos Alvarado -- President and Chief Investment Officer

Anthony Paolone -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Rich Anderson -- SMBC -- Analyst

Marnie Georges -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Jade Rahmani -- KBW -- Analyst

John Massocca -- Ladenburg Thalmann -- Analyst

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