Washington Prime Group Inc. (NYSE: WPG) today announced an update on several fronts. In its continued recognition of the need to address the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Company has extended the temporary closure of its enclosed assets with an indoor common area from March 29 to April 6 or at a date in compliance with applicable federal, local or state mandates.
In addition, based upon this heightened uncertainty, the Company is withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance issued on February 26, 2020. The Company is not providing updated guidance at this time.
Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group, stated: "While the next quarter is going to be a son of a gun, our Company is well positioned to encounter the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, our leasing and development professionals continue to grind it out as illustrated by the 16 new leases and 44 renewals executed during the month of March alone, which account for approximately $2.9M and $5.0M of gross rental income, respectively. In addition, we have four anchor store replacements scheduled to open during the second quarter of 2020.
"I also want to reiterate that approximately 40% of our NOI, or 58 of our assets are open air, and 75% of our enclosed assets have an open air component. This is a testament to the portfolio transformation we've accomplished over the past few years.
"I want to extend my thanks to all of our guests who are hankering to visit with us once again as well as our tenancy, both existing and those new to the WPG family. We are all in this together. In addition, I’d like to mention the stalwart efforts of my colleagues who are working their behinds off (albeit in pajamas) to ensure a smooth return to normalcy. Most importantly, a shout out to everybody from the public and private sectors who are working tirelessly to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Stay strong...stay healthy...and just wait until you see what we have in store for everybody at our town centers when we all return to normalcy."
About Washington Prime Group
Washington Prime Group Inc. is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. The Company combines a national real estate portfolio with its expertise across the entire shopping center sector to increase cash flow through rigorous management of assets and provide new opportunities to retailers looking for growth throughout the U.S. Washington Prime Group® is a registered trademark of the Company. Learn more at www.washingtonprime.com.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which represent the current expectations and beliefs of management of Washington Prime Group Inc. ("WPG") concerning the proposed transactions, the anticipated consequences and benefits of the transactions and the targeted close date for the transactions, and other future events and their potential effects on WPG, including, but not limited to, statements relating to anticipated financial and operating results, the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, cost savings and other statements, including words such as "anticipate," "believe," "confident," "plan," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "will," "should," "may," and other similar expressions. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of WPG’s management, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of WPG to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation: changes in asset quality and credit risk; ability to sustain revenue and earnings growth; changes in political, economic or market conditions generally and the real estate and capital markets specifically; the impact of increased competition; the availability of capital and financing; tenant or joint venture partner(s) bankruptcies; the failure to increase store occupancy and same-store operating income; risks associated with the acquisition, disposition, (re)development, expansion, leasing and management of properties; changes in market rental rates; trends in the retail industry; relationships with anchor tenants; risks relating to joint venture properties; costs of common area maintenance; competitive market forces; the level and volatility of interest rates; the rate of revenue increases as compared to expense increases; the financial stability of tenants within the retail industry; the restrictions in current financing arrangements or the failure to comply with such arrangements; the liquidity of real estate investments; the impact of changes to tax legislation and WPG’s tax positions; losses associated with closures, failures and stoppages associated with the spread and proliferation of the COVID -19 (coronavirus) outbreak; to qualify as a real estate investment trust; the failure to refinance debt at favorable terms and conditions; loss of key personnel; material changes in the dividend rates on securities or the ability to pay dividends on common shares or other securities; possible restrictions on the ability to operate or dispose of any partially-owned properties; the failure to achieve earnings/funds from operations targets or estimates; the failure to achieve projected returns or yields on (re)development and investment properties (including joint ventures); expected gains on debt extinguishment; changes in generally accepted accounting principles or interpretations thereof; terrorist activities and international hostilities; the unfavorable resolution of legal or regulatory proceedings; the impact of future acquisitions and divestitures; assets that may be subject to impairment charges; significant costs related to environmental issues; changes in LIBOR reporting practices or the method in which LIBOR is determined; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in WPG’s statements and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those described under "Risk Factors". The forward-looking statements in this communication are qualified by these risk factors. Each statement speaks only as of the date of this press release and WPG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from current projections, expectations, and plans, if any. Investors, potential investors and others should give careful consideration to these risks and uncertainties.