Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. SHO has announced the sale of the 622-room Renaissance Harborplace in Baltimore, MD for $80 million. The move comes as part of the company’s strategy to concentrate its portfolio in “Long-Term Relevant Real Estate”. It will also bolster the company’s liquidity position.
The coronavirus crisis and related uncertainties have resulted in a declining lodging demand, as the U.S. states have imposed travel restrictions and mandatory stay-at-home orders, and meetings and conferences have been called off.
As a result, business travelers are grounded, while leisure travelers are scared to go on an outing, affecting lodging REITs like Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. HST, Chatham Lodging Trust CLDT and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust PEB among others.
Sunstone Hotel too has not been spared and withdrew its outlook for the ongoing year in March, as it witnessed massive group cancellations.
In response to the pandemic and the challenging operating environment, the company temporarily suspended operations at majority of its hotels besides substantially lowering operating expenses at those hotels which remain open but operating at low occupancy level. Moreover, the company has deferred a large number of capital projects.
In first-quarter 2020, the company’s 20 hotel portfolio revenue per available room (RevPAR) decreased 25.7% year on year to $131.94. Moreover as of Mar 31, 2020, it had $900.9 million of cash and cash equivalents and total consolidated debt of $1.3 billion. The company has suspended its quarterly common stock cash dividends as well as stock-repurchase program. Amid these, the sale of this property will offer added financial flexibility to sail through the challenging times.
Shares of Sunstone Hotel have depreciated 44.5%, wider than the 10.4% decline of its industry in the year-to-date period.
Currently, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.
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