SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 001-13561
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
| ||(I.R.S. Employer|
|909 Walnut Street,||Suite 200|
|Kansas City,||Missouri|| ||64106|
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
|Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:||(816)||472-1700|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common shares, par value $0.01 per share||EPR||New York Stock Exchange|
|5.75% Series C cumulative convertible preferred shares, par value $0.01 per share||EPR PrC||New York Stock Exchange|
|9.00% Series E cumulative convertible preferred shares, par value $0.01 per share||EPR PrE||New York Stock Exchange|
|5.75% Series G cumulative redeemable preferred shares, par value $0.01 per share||EPR PrG||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|| ||☒|| ||Accelerated filer|| ||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer|| ||☐|| ||Smaller reporting company|| ||☐|
|Emerging growth company|| ||☐|
|If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the common shares of beneficial interest (“common shares”) of the registrant held by non-affiliates, based on the closing price on the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange, was $2,477,018,949.
At February 24, 2021, there were 74,766,645 common shares outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
With the exception of historical information, certain statements contained or incorporated by reference herein may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), such as those pertaining to the uncertain financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our capital resources and liquidity, our expected cash flows and liquidity, continuing waivers of financial covenants related to our bank credit facilities and private placement notes, the performance of our customers, including AMC and Regal, our expected cash collections, expected use of proceeds from dispositions and our results of operations and financial condition. The estimates presented herein are based on the Company's current expectations and, given the current economic uncertainty, there can be no assurances that the Company will be able to continue to comply with other applicable covenants under its debt agreements, which could materially impact actual performance. Forward-looking statements involve numerous risks and uncertainties, and you should not rely on them as predictions of actual events. There is no assurance the events or circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will occur. You can identify forward-looking statements by use of words such as “will be,” “intend,” “continue,” “believe,” “may,” “expect,” “hope,” “anticipate,” “goal,” “forecast,” “pipeline,” “estimates,” “offers,” “plans,” “would” or other similar expressions or other comparable terms or discussions of strategy, plans or intentions in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Forward-looking statements necessarily are dependent on assumptions, data or methods that may be incorrect or imprecise. These forward-looking statements represent our intentions, plans, expectations and beliefs and are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Many of the factors that will determine these items are beyond our ability to control or predict. For further discussion of these factors see "Summary Risk Factors" below and Item 1A - "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
For these statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or the date of any document incorporated by reference herein. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Except as required by law, we do not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to our forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
SUMMARY RISK FACTORS
Our business is subject to varying degrees of risk and uncertainty. You should carefully review and consider the full discussion of our risk factors in Item 1A - “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of these risks occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Set forth below is a summary list of the principal risk factors relating to our business:
•Risks associated with the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, or the future outbreak of any other highly infectious or contagious diseases;
•Global economic uncertainty and disruptions in financial markets;
•Reduction in discretionary spending by consumers;
•Covenants in our debt instruments that limit our ability to take certain actions;
•Adverse changes in our credit ratings;
•Fluctuations in interest rates;
•Defaults in the performance of lease terms by our tenants;
•Defaults by our customers and counterparties on their obligations owed to us;
•A borrower's bankruptcy or default;
•Our ability to renew maturing leases on terms comparable to prior leases and/or our ability to locate substitute lessees for these properties on economically favorable terms;
•Risks of operating in the experiential real estate industry;
•Our ability to compete effectively;
•Risks associated with four tenants representing a substantial portion of our lease revenues;
•The ability of our build-to-suit tenants to achieve sufficient operating results within expected time-frames and therefore have capacity to pay their agreed upon rent;
•Risks associated with our dependence on third-party managers to operate certain of our properties;
•Risks associated with our level of indebtedness;
•Risks associated with use of leverage to acquire properties;
•Financing arrangements that require lump-sum payments;
•Our ability to raise capital;
•The concentration and lack of diversification of our investment portfolio;
•Our continued qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes and related tax matters;
•The ability of our subsidiaries to satisfy their obligations;
•Financing arrangements that expose us to funding and completion risks;
•Our reliance on a limited number of employees, the loss of which could harm operations;
•Risks associated with the employment of personnel by managers of certain of our properties;
•Risks associated with the gaming industry;
•Risks associated with gaming and other regulatory authorities;
•Delays or prohibitions of transfers of gaming properties due to required regulatory approvals;
•Risks associated with security breaches and other disruptions;
•Changes in accounting standards that may adversely affect our financial statements;
•Fluctuations in the value of real estate income and investments;
•Risks relating to real estate ownership, leasing and development, including local conditions such as an oversupply of space or a reduction in demand for real estate in the area, competition from other available space, whether tenants and users such as customers of our tenants consider a property attractive, changes in real estate taxes and other expenses, changes in market rental rates, the timing and costs associated with property improvements and rentals, changes in taxation or zoning laws or other governmental regulation, whether we are able to pass some or all of any increased operating costs through to tenants or other customers, and how well we manage our properties;
•Our ability to secure adequate insurance and risk of potential uninsured losses, including from natural disasters;
•Risks involved in joint ventures;
•Risks in leasing multi-tenant properties;
•A failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws;
•Risks of environmental liability;
•Risks associated with the relatively illiquid nature of our real estate investments;
•Risks with owning assets in foreign countries;
•Risks associated with owning, operating or financing properties for which the tenants', mortgagors' or our operations may be impacted by weather conditions, climate change and natural disasters;
•Risks associated with the development, redevelopment and expansion of properties and the acquisition of other real estate related companies;
•Our ability to pay dividends in cash or at current rates;
•Fluctuations in the market prices for our shares;
•Certain limits on changes in control imposed under law and by our Declaration of Trust and Bylaws;
•Policy changes obtained without the approval of our shareholders;
•Equity issuances that could dilute the value of our shares;
•Future offerings of debt or equity securities, which may rank senior to our common shares;
•Risks associated with changes in foreign exchange rates; and
•Changes in laws and regulations, including tax laws and regulations.
Market and Industry Data
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains market and industry data and forecasts that have been obtained from publicly available information, various industry publications, and other published industry sources. We have not
independently verified the information from third party sources and cannot make any representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such information. None of the reports and other materials of third party sources referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K were prepared for use in, or in connection with, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Item 1. Business
EPR Properties (“we,” “us,” “our,” “EPR” or the “Company”) was formed on August 22, 1997 as a Maryland real estate investment trust (“REIT”), and an initial public offering of our common shares of beneficial interest (“common shares”) was completed on November 18, 1997. Since that time, we have been a leading net lease investor in experiential real estate, venues which create value by facilitating out of home leisure and recreation experiences where consumers choose to spend their discretionary time and money. We focus our underwriting of experiential property investments on key industry and property cash flow criteria, as well as the credit metrics of our tenants and customers.
In 2019, we began the implementation of a strategy focused solely on future growth in experiential properties. We believe experiential is an enduring sector of the real estate industry and that our focus on properties in this sector, industry relationships and the knowledge of our management, provide us with a competitive advantage in providing capital to operators of these types of properties. We believe this focused niche approach aligns with long-term trends in consumer demand and offers the potential for higher growth and better yields. In pursuit of this strategy, we sold our remaining charter school portfolio in the fourth quarter of 2019, as well as a portion of our private school and early education portfolios in the fourth quarter of 2020. Our remaining Education portfolio, consisting of early childhood education centers and private schools, continues as a legacy investment and provides additional geographic and property diversity.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted global economic activity during 2020 and caused significant volatility and negative pressure in financial markets, which is expected to continue into 2021. The global impact of the outbreak rapidly evolved and many jurisdictions within the United States and abroad reacted by instituting quarantines, mandating business and school closures and restricting travel. As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted experiential real estate properties, given that such properties involve congregate social activity and discretionary consumer spending. During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected our business, and could continue to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business will depend on several factors, including, but not limited to, the scope, severity and duration of the pandemic, the actions taken to contain the outbreak or mitigate its impact, the development and distribution of vaccines and the efficacy of those vaccines, the public’s confidence in the health and safety measures implemented by our tenants and borrowers, and the direct and indirect economic effects of the outbreak and containment measures, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted.
While the pandemic has created a very challenging environment, consumers have historically demonstrated an enduring desire for out-of-home congregate experiences. We expect that as COVID-19 vaccinations reach critical mass, business and school closures will be lifted and consumers will return to the leisure and recreation activities our properties offer. We believe that this is further supported by the fact that our customers offer popular and affordable entertainment and social outlet options, particularly through our theatres, eat & play and cultural venues. Additionally, we offer regional destinations (experiential lodging, ski, attractions and gaming properties) which are drive-to locations that do not require air travel.
We are a self-administered REIT. As of December 31, 2020, our total assets were approximately $6.7 billion (after accumulated depreciation of approximately $1.1 billion). Our investments are generally structured as long-term triple-net leases that require tenants to pay substantially all expenses associated with the operation and maintenance of the property, or as long-term mortgages with economics similar to our triple-net lease structure.
Our total investments (a non-GAAP financial measure) were approximately $6.5 billion at December 31, 2020. See Item 7 - "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for the calculation of total investments and reconciliation of total investments to "Total assets"
in the consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2020 and 2019. We currently group our investments into two reportable segments: Experiential and Education. As of December 31, 2020, our Experiential investments comprised $5.9 billion, or 91%, and our Education investments comprised $0.6 billion, or 9%, of our total investments. A more detailed description of the property types included within these segments is provided below.
We believe our management’s knowledge and industry relationships have facilitated favorable opportunities for us to acquire, finance and lease properties. Prior to the pandemic, our primary challenges were locating suitable properties, negotiating favorable lease or financing terms, and managing our real estate portfolio as we have continued to grow. During the pandemic, our focus has been addressing all challenges brought on by the pandemic including monitoring customer status and working with customers to help ensure long-term stability and assisting them in establishing re-opening plans.
Going forward, we are particularly focused on property categories which allow us to use our experience to mitigate some of the risks inherent in a changing economic environment. We cannot provide any assurance that any such potential investment or acquisition opportunities will arise in the near future, or that we will actively pursue any such opportunities.
Although we are primarily a long-term investor, we may also sell assets if we believe that it is in the best interest of our shareholders or pursuant to contractual rights of our tenants or our customers.
As of December 31, 2020, our Experiential segment included total investments of approximately $5.9 billion in the following property types (owned or financed):
•178 theatre properties;
•55 eat & play properties (including seven theatres located in entertainment districts);
•18 attraction properties;
•13 ski properties;
•six experiential lodging properties;
•one gaming property;
•three cultural properties; and
•seven fitness & wellness properties.
As of December 31, 2020, our owned Experiential real estate portfolio of approximately 19.3 million square feet was 93.8% leased and included $57.6 million in property under development and $20.2 million in undeveloped land inventory.
A significant portion of our Experiential portfolio consists of modern megaplex theatres. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the theatre industry. Many theatre locations remain closed due to local restrictions or operator decision to close as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the decision by many major studios to delay the release of blockbuster movies in hopes that larger audiences will be available as additional markets open. Due to these closures and the lack of content to exhibit, our tenants have required significant rent deferrals and, in some circumstances, restructured lease agreements. While studios pushed the majority of movie content to 2021, certain studios chose hybrid content release strategies in support of their direct-to-consumer streaming services. In these cases, the standard movie release strategy referred to as “release windows” was set aside as movies were either simultaneously released in theatres and through streaming services, or simply released directly through streaming services. While these decisions were made as a result of the pandemic, it is yet to be determined how the industry will again coalesce around a standard release strategy in a post-pandemic environment.
Several theatre tenants have been placed on a cash-basis for revenue recognition purposes due to the ongoing uncertainty. During 2020, we experienced vacancies at certain theatre properties and have determined to either sell these properties or manage them through a third-party manager. As theatres continue to be impacted by the pandemic, we will evaluate the best strategy for any future vacancies on a property-by-property basis.
The modern megaplex theatre provides a greatly enhanced audio and visual experience for patrons. Prior to the pandemic, there was a trend among national and local exhibitors to further enhance the customer experience. These enhancements include reserved, luxury seating and expanded food and beverage offerings, including the addition of alcohol and more efficient point of sale systems. The evolution of the theatre industry over the last 20 years from the sloped floor theatre to the megaplex stadium theatre to the expanded amenity theatre has demonstrated that exhibitors and their landlords are willing to make investments in their theatres to take the customer experience to the next level.
Moviegoing has been a dominant out-of-home entertainment option for decades, with over 1.2 billion tickets sold in North America during 2019 according to the Motion Picture Association (MPA) 2019 Theme Report. We believe that the evolution in theatres and enhanced customer experience will bring customers back to enjoy film exhibition in a post-pandemic environment. While consumers have the option of watching streaming content at home, data has shown that theatre exhibition and streaming options have successfully coexisted. In fact, a survey published by EY (The Relationship Between Movie Theater Attendance and Streaming Behavior - February, 2020) illustrated that the most frequent moviegoers also spend the most time streaming. This is in part likely due to the fact that the majority of content streamed in-home is series-based content. Additionally, theatre exhibition remains a critical initial distribution platform for studios to fully monetize titles.
Ultimately, the pace of recovery and stabilization of theatre exhibition will be dependent upon several factors including the success of the deployment of vaccines, consumer confidence in attending theatres and studios' willingness to broadly release content to theatres.
While theatres are the largest property type in our Experiential segment currently, it is expected that over time it will become a smaller percent of the portfolio. We expect this to occur as we grow in other target experiential property types and possibly through dispositions of theatre properties.
As of December 31, 2020, our owned theatre properties were leased to 17 different leading theatre operators. A significant portion of our total revenue was from Cinemark USA, Inc. ("Cinemark"), American Multi-Cinema, Inc. ("AMC") and Regal Entertainment Group ("Regal"). For the year ended December 31, 2020, approximately $42.1 million or 10.1%, $30.0 million or 7.2% and $13.1 million or 3.1% of the Company's total revenue was from Cinemark, AMC and Regal, respectively.
Eat & Play
The emergence of the "eatertainment" category has inspired an increasing number of successful concepts that appeal to consumers by providing good food and high-quality entertainment options all at one location. Our eat & play portfolio includes golf entertainment complexes, entertainment districts and family entertainment centers.
Our golf entertainment complexes combine golf with entertainment, competition and food and beverage service, and are leased to, or we have mortgage receivables from, Topgolf USA ("Topgolf"). By combining interactive entertainment with quality food and beverage and a long-lived recreational activity, Topgolf provides an innovative, enjoyable and repeatable customer experience. Due to the pandemic, our TopGolf locations were closed for a portion of 2020 based on local restrictions. However, these locations have reopened and are recovering quickly as customers return to experience this interactive activity. We expect to continue to pursue select opportunities related to golf entertainment complexes. A significant portion of our total revenue was from Topgolf, which totaled approximately $80.7 million, or 19.5%, of the Company's total revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020.
We also continue to seek opportunities for the acquisition, financing or development of entertainment districts. Entertainment districts are restaurant, retail and other entertainment venues typically anchored by a megaplex theatre. The opportunity to capitalize on the traffic generation of our existing market-dominant theatres to create
entertainment districts not only strengthens the execution of the megaplex theatre but adds diversity to our tenant and asset base. We have and will continue to evaluate our existing portfolio for additional development of entertainment, retail and restaurant density, and we will also continue to evaluate the purchase or financing of existing entertainment districts that have demonstrated strong financial performance and meet our quality standards. The leasing and property management requirements of our entertainment districts are generally met using third-party professional service providers.
Our family entertainment center operators offer a variety of entertainment options including bowling, bocce ball and karting. We will continue to seek opportunities for the acquisition, financing or development of such properties that leverage our expertise in this area.
Our attractions portfolio consists primarily of waterparks and amusement parks, each of which draw a diverse segment of customers. Prior to the pandemic, outdoor waterparks had historically experienced attendance growth since their inception in 1977. Consumer demand for indoor waterparks was also increasing pre-pandemic, making a trip to the waterpark accessible in all four seasons. Today’s amusement parks offer themed experiences designed to appeal to all ages.
Our attraction operators continue to deliver innovative and compelling attractions along with high standards of service, making our attractions a day of fun that is accessible for families, teens, locals and tourists. These attractions offer experiences designed to appeal to all ages while remaining accessible in both cost and proximity. As the attractions industry continues to evolve, innovative technologies and concepts are redefining the attractions experience.
Due to the pandemic, our attraction properties were closed for all or a portion of 2020 based on local restrictions with certain properties still required to be closed. We believe that demand for attractions will normalize in a post-pandemic environment. Our attraction properties are leased to, or we have mortgage notes receivable from, five different operators. We expect to continue to pursue opportunities in this area.
Our ski portfolio provides a sustainable advantage for the experience-oriented consumer, providing outdoor entertainment in the winter and, in some cases, year-round. All the ski properties that serve as collateral for our mortgage notes in this area, as well as our five owned properties, offer snowmaking capabilities and provide a variety of terrains and vertical drop options. We believe that the primary appeal of our ski properties lies in the convenient and reliable experience consumers can expect. Given that all our ski properties are located near major metropolitan areas, they offer skiing, snowboarding and other activities without the expense, travel, or lengthy preparations of remote ski resorts. Furthermore, advanced snowmaking capabilities increase the reliability of the experience during the winter versus other ski properties that do not have such capabilities. Our ski properties were minimally impacted by the pandemic in 2020 because the ski season was substantially over when pandemic restrictions began. Additionally, in 2021, due to the outdoor nature of the activity and the convenient location of our properties, we believe that our ski portfolio will perform well through the pandemic. Our ski properties are leased to, or we have mortgage notes receivable from, five different operators. We expect to continue to pursue opportunities in this area.
Experiential lodging meets the needs of consumers by providing a convenient, central location that combines high-quality lodging amenities with entertainment, recreation and leisure activities. The appeal of these properties attracts multiple generations at once. Due to the pandemic, our experiential lodging property in Sullivan County, New York has been closed by state mandate since March of 2020 and our two locations in Florida were required to be closed for a portion of the second quarter of 2020. Additionally, travel restrictions negatively impacted our locations in Florida when they were able to reopen. We believe that demand for experiential lodging will return in a post-pandemic environment. Our investments in experiential lodging have been typically structured using triple-net leases, however, we currently operate these three properties (two of which are included in an unconsolidated joint venture) through a traditional REIT lodging structure. In the traditional REIT lodging structure, we hold qualified
lodging facilities under the REIT and we separately hold the operations of the facilities in taxable REIT subsidiaries ("TRSs") which are facilitated by management agreements with eligible independent contractors. We expect to continue to pursue opportunities for investments in experiential lodging.
Our strategic focus in our gaming portfolio is on casino resorts and hotels leased to leading operators with a strong regulatory track record that seek to drive consumer loyalty and value through quality customer experiences, superior service, world-class affinity programs and continuous innovation on and off the gaming floor. Additionally, we focus on casino resorts and hotels that provide a wide array of experiential offerings outside of lodging and state-of-the-art gaming. Through live entertainment, various recreational opportunities, dining options and night clubs, the combination of amenities appeals to a broader demographic. In 2020, regional gaming properties demonstrated stronger resilience versus Las Vegas strip casinos, as they are not dependent on air travel and conventions, both of which saw significant declines during the year.
As of December 31, 2020, our investments in gaming consisted of land under ground lease related to the Resorts World Catskills casino and resort project in Sullivan County, New York. Our ground lease tenant has invested in excess of $930.0 million in the construction of the casino and resort project, and the casino first opened for business in February 2018. We will continue to pursue opportunities for investment in gaming under triple net lease structures or mortgages.
Our cultural investments seek to engage consumers and create memorable experiences and are evolving to offer immersive and interactive exhibits that encourage repeat visits. Combining an opportunity to experience animals, art or history with a congregate social experience, cultural venues, such as zoos, aquariums and museums, are reemerging as an entertainment option. As appreciation for the importance of leisure time is growing, cultural venues are broadening their appeal to reach a variety of customers.
Desiring to be a preeminent choice in what is now known as location-based experiences, several trends have developed among cultural venues. Many are utilizing new technology, personalizing the guest experience and implementing an element of play that was previously absent. In making new investments in this property type, we will continue to identify the locations and tenants that execute well on these trends and have a history of strong attendance. City Museum in St. Louis is one of our properties and is a great example of an emerging category called “artainment” which is an art display that invites guests to interact and explore.
Due to the pandemic, our cultural investments were closed for a portion of 2020 based on local restrictions but all locations have reopened. Although City Museum is experiencing a slower recovery, our two other cultural investments are recovering quickly. We believe that demand for cultural activities will return in a post-pandemic environment and we expect to continue to pursue opportunities in this area.
Fitness & Wellness
In recent years, consumers have begun to spend more time and money on their well-being. The diverse offerings of boutique and larger fitness centers have caught the interest of many consumers, driving an expansion of both fitness and more broadly, the wellness industry. By allowing fitness club members to focus on their individual interests and goals in a community setting, operators gain loyalty and retention which are essential elements in the ongoing success of a facility. Commercial fitness centers have stayed at the forefront of the industry by offering personalization within congregate settings. Our tenants make it their goal to motivate, educate, and to help consumers look and feel better.
We will continue to seek opportunities for the acquisition, financing or development of other experiential properties that leverage our expertise in this area.
As of December 31, 2020, our Education segment included total investments of approximately $0.6 billion in the following property types (owned or financed):
•65 early childhood education center properties; and
•10 private school properties.
As of December 31, 2020, our owned Education real estate portfolio of approximately 1.4 million square feet was 100% leased and included $3.0 million in undeveloped land inventory.
Private schools were minimally impacted by the pandemic as students were still learning in a remote environment in areas where closures were required. Most of our early education centers have experienced mandated closures and a drop in revenue that we believe is temporary and will continue to recover as people return to work. As discussed above, our growth going forward will be focused on Experiential properties and therefore we do not expect to seek additional opportunities for Education properties.
Business Objectives and Strategies
Our vision is to continue to build the premier experiential REIT. We focus on real estate venues which create value by facilitating out of home leisure and recreation experiences where consumers choose to spend their discretionary time and money. These are properties which make up the social infrastructure of society.
Our long-term primary business objective is to enhance shareholder value by achieving predictable and increasing Funds From Operations As Adjusted ("FFOAA") and dividends per share (See Item 7 – “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Non-GAAP Financial Measures - Funds From Operations (FFO), Funds From Operations As Adjusted (FFOAA) and Adjusted Funds From Operations (AFFO)” for a discussion of FFOAA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure). Our growth strategy focuses on acquiring or developing experiential properties in which we maintain a depth of knowledge and relationships, and which we believe offer sustained performance throughout most economic cycles. We intend to achieve this objective by continuing to execute the Growth Strategies, Operating Strategies and Capitalization Strategies described below.
Our strategic growth is focused on acquiring or developing experiential real estate venues which create value by facilitating out of home leisure and recreation experiences where consumers choose to spend their discretionary time and money. We may also pursue opportunities to provide mortgage financing for these investments in certain situations where this structure is more advantageous than owning the underlying real estate.
Our focus on Experiential properties is consistent with our strategic organizational design which is structured around building a center of knowledge and strong operating competencies in the experiential real estate market. Retention and building of this knowledge depth creates a competitive advantage allowing us to more quickly identify key market trends.
To this end, we will deliberately apply information and our ingenuity to identify properties which represent potential logical extensions within each of our existing experiential property types, or potential future additional experiential property types. As part of our strategic planning and portfolio management process, we assess new opportunities against the following underwriting principles:
•Proven Business Model
•Location Rent Coverage
•Cash Flow Durability
•Solid Credit Quality
We believe that our over 20 years of experience and knowledge in the experiential real estate market gives us the opportunity to be the dominant player in this area. Additionally, we have tenant and borrower relationships that provide us with access to investment opportunities.
The pandemic has impeded our growth in the near term while our focus has been addressing challenges brought on by the pandemic including monitoring customer status and working with customers to help ensure long-term stability and assisting them in establishing re-opening plans. We expect to return to growth as our customers' businesses continue to recover and, in turn, our cash flows stabilize.
Lease Risk Minimization
To avoid initial lease-up risks and produce a predictable income stream, we typically acquire or develop single-tenant properties that are leased under long-term leases. We believe our willingness to make long-term investments in properties offers our tenants financial flexibility and allows tenants to allocate capital to their core businesses. Although we will continue to emphasize single-tenant properties, we have acquired or developed, and may continue to acquire or develop, multi-tenant properties we believe add shareholder value.
We have structured our leasing arrangements to achieve a positive spread between our cost of capital and the rents paid by our tenants. We typically structure leases on a triple-net basis under which the tenants bear the principal portion of the financial and operational responsibility for the properties. During each lease term and any renewal periods, the leases typically provide for periodic increases in rent and/or percentage rent based upon a percentage of the tenant’s gross sales over a pre-determined level. In our multi-tenant property leases and some of our theatre leases, we generally require the tenant to pay a common area maintenance (“CAM”) charge to defray its pro rata share of insurance, taxes and maintenance costs.
We have structured our mortgages to achieve economics similar to our triple-net lease structure with a positive spread between our cost of capital and the interest paid by our tenants. During each mortgage term and any renewal
periods, the notes typically provide for periodic increases in interest and/or participating features based upon a percentage of the tenant’s gross sales over a pre-determined level.
Traditional REIT Lodging Structure
In certain limited instances, we have utilized traditional REIT lodging structures, where we hold qualified lodging facilities under the REIT and we separately hold the operations of the facilities in TRSs which are facilitated by management agreements with eligible independent contractors. However, we currently anticipate migrating over time what we hold in such structures to more traditional net lease or mortgage arrangements.
Development and Redevelopment
We intend to continue developing properties and redeveloping existing properties that are consistent with our growth strategies. We generally do not begin development of a single-tenant property without a signed lease providing for rental payments that are commensurate with our level of capital investment. In the case of a multi-tenant development, we generally require a significant amount of the development to be pre-leased prior to construction to minimize lease-up risks. In addition, to minimize overhead costs and to provide the greatest amount of flexibility, we generally outsource construction management to third-party firms.
We believe our build-to-suit development program is a competitive advantage. First, we believe our strong relationships with our tenants and developers drive new investment opportunities that are often exclusive to us, rather than bid broadly, and with our deep knowledge of their businesses, we believe we are a value-added partner in the underwriting of each new investment. Second, we offer financing from start to finish for a build-to-suit project such that there is no need for a tenant to seek separate construction and permanent financing, which we believe makes us a more attractive partner. Third, we are actively developing strong relationships with tenants in the experiential sector leading to multiple investments without strict investment portfolio allocations. Finally, multiple investments with the same tenant allows us in most cases to include cross-default provisions in our lease or financing contracts, meaning a default in an obligation to us at one location is a default under all obligations with that tenant.
We will also investigate opportunities to redevelop certain of our existing properties. We may redevelop properties in conjunction with a lease renewal or new tenant, or we may redevelop properties that have more earnings potential due to the redevelopment. Additionally, certain of our properties have excess land where we will pro-actively seek opportunities to further develop.
Tenant and Customer Relationships
We intend to continue developing and maintaining long-term working relationships with experiential operators and developers by providing capital for multiple properties on a regional, national and international basis, thereby creating efficiency and value for both the operators and the Company.
We will endeavor to further diversify our asset base by property type, geographic location and tenant or customer. In pursuing this diversification strategy, we will target experiential business operators that we view as leaders in their property types and have the ability to compete effectively and perform under their agreements with the Company.
We will consider discretionary property dispositions for reasons such as creating price awareness of a certain property type, opportunistically taking advantage of an above-market offer or reducing exposure related to a certain tenant, property type or geographic area.
Debt and Equity Financing
We believe that our shareholders are best served by a conservative capital structure. Therefore, we seek to maintain a conservative debt level on our balance sheet as measured primarily by our net debt to adjusted EBITDAre, a non-GAAP measure (see Item 7 – “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition - Non-GAAP
Financial Measures" for definitions and reconciliations). We also seek to maintain conservative interest, fixed charge, debt service coverage and net debt to gross asset ratios.
We rely primarily on an unsecured debt structure. In the future, while we may obtain secured debt from time to time or assume secured debt financing obligations in acquisitions, we intend to issue primarily unsecured debt securities to satisfy our debt financing needs. We believe this strategy increases our access to capital and permits us to more efficiently match available debt and equity financing to our ongoing capital requirements.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, we amended our Consolidated Credit Agreement, which governs our unsecured revolving credit facility and our unsecured term loan facility, and our Note Purchase Agreement, which governs our private placement notes. The amendments modified certain provisions and waived our obligation to comply with certain covenants under these debt agreements during the Covenant Relief Period, subject to certain conditions. These waivers to comply with certain covenants were obtained in light of the uncertainty related to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on us and our tenants and borrowers. The amendments also imposed additional restrictions on us during the Covenant Relief Period, including limitations on making investments, incurring indebtedness, making capital expenditures, paying dividends and making other distributions, repurchasing our shares, voluntarily prepaying certain indebtedness, encumbering certain assets and maintaining a minimum liquidity amount, in each case subject to certain exceptions. The term "Covenant Relief Period," as used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, generally means the period of time beginning on June 29, 2020 and ending on (i) December 31, 2021, in the case of our Consolidated Credit Agreement, or (ii) October 1, 2021 (subject to extension to January 1, 2022 at our election, subject to certain conditions), in the case of our Note Purchase Agreement governing our private placement notes. We have the right under certain circumstances to terminate the Covenant Relief Period earlier.
Our sources of equity financing consist of the issuance of common shares as well as the issuance of preferred shares (including convertible preferred shares). In addition to larger underwritten registered public offerings of both common and preferred shares, we have also offered shares pursuant to registered public offerings through the direct share purchase component of our Dividend Reinvestment and Direct Share Purchase Plan (“DSP Plan”). While such offerings are generally smaller than a typical underwritten public offering, issuing common shares under the direct share purchase component of our DSP Plan allows us to access capital on a more frequent basis in a cost-effective manner. We expect to opportunistically access the equity markets in the future and, depending primarily on the size and timing of our equity capital needs, may continue to issue shares under the direct share purchase component of our DSP Plan. Furthermore, we may issue shares in connection with acquisitions in the future.
We will examine and may pursue potential additional joint venture opportunities with institutional investors or developers if the investments to which they relate meet our guiding principles discussed above. We may employ higher leverage in joint ventures and be more inclined to use secured financing at the property level.
Payment of Regular Dividends
We pay dividend distributions to our common shareholders on a monthly basis (as opposed to a quarterly basis). We temporarily suspended our monthly cash dividend to common shareholders after the common share dividend payable May 15, 2020. Our plan is to reinstitute such dividends to common shareholders, when conditions allow, however, there can be no assurances as to our ability to do so or the timing thereof. Our Series C cumulative convertible preferred shares (“Series C preferred shares”) have a dividend rate of 5.75%, our Series E cumulative convertible preferred shares (“Series E preferred shares”) have a dividend rate of 9.00% and our Series G cumulative redeemable preferred shares ("Series G preferred shares") have a dividend rate of 5.75%. Among the factors the Company’s board of trustees (“Board of Trustees”) considers in setting the common share dividend rate are the applicable REIT tax rules and regulations that apply to dividends, the Company’s results of operations, including FFO and FFOAA per share, and the Company’s Cash Available for Distribution (defined as net cash flow available for distribution after payment of operating expenses, debt service, preferred dividends and other obligations).
We compete for real estate financing opportunities with other companies that invest in real estate, as well as traditional financial sources such as banks and insurance companies. REITs have financed, and may continue to seek to finance, experiential and other specialty properties as new properties are developed or become available for acquisition.
Our strategy is specializing in investments in select enduring experiential properties in the real estate industry, and our people are vital to our success in executing on this strategy. As a human-capital intensive business, the long-term success of our firm depends on our people. Our Vice President, Human Resources and Administration works in conjunction with our Executive Vice President and General Counsel, who reports directly to our Chief Executive Officer, to develop and oversee our human capital management objectives, programs and initiatives. In addition, our Board of Trustees is actively involved in our human capital management in its oversight of our long-term strategy and through its Compensation and Human Capital Committee and engagement with management. Our management regularly reports to the Compensation and Human Capital Committee regarding management's human capital objectives, programs and initiatives.
Our key human capital objectives are to attract, retain and develop the highest quality talent to ensure that we have the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. To achieve these objectives, our human capital programs are designed to develop talent to prepare them for critical roles and leadership positions for the future; reward and support employees through competitive pay, benefit, and perquisite programs; enhance our culture through efforts aimed at making the workplace more engaging and inclusive; acquire talent and facilitate internal talent mobility to create a high-performing, diverse workforce; and evolve and invest in technology, tools, and resources to enable employees at work. As of December 31, 2020, we had 53 full-time employees.
Examples of key programs and initiatives that are focused to attract, develop and retain our diverse workforce include:
•Development. We provide opportunities for our associates to learn and thrive as professionals, including educational reimbursement, mentorship, executive coaching and ongoing professional development. Annually, EPR hosts leadership development sessions for all levels of our organization. In 2020, we hosted and facilitated virtual sessions with an external professional, focused on building our “Feedback Rich Culture.”
•Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Our DE&I objectives are to ensure our culture is evolving and inclusive, and build teams that reflect the life experiences of our customers and the ultimate consumers of our customers’ services. Specific steps we have taken to address our commitment to DE&I include:
▪Hosting in 2020 multiple culture-changing and learning opportunities regarding DE&I with external experts and the response was overwhelmingly positive;
▪Adopting in 2020 the “Rooney” rule with respect to our recruiting processes to ensure an active approach to diversification at all areas of our organization;
▪Establishing a partnership with a local charter school to provide internship opportunities to diverse alumni as a means to invest in a future and local diverse talent pipeline; and
▪Sponsoring since 2015, the EPR Women’s Initiative Network, or EWIN, that represents and supports our diverse communities within our workforce. EWIN facilitates networking and connections with peers, outreach and mentoring, leadership and skill development. Most of our employees regularly participate in EWIN programs.
•Compensation and Benefits. Our benefits include competitive base pay, performance-based restricted stock awards and a 401(k) with a robust company match. We support our employees’ physical and mental health through paid parental leave, industry-leading health care benefits, unlimited sick leave, flexible paid time
off and employee assistance programs. In addition, we offer yearly wellness reimbursements, an on-site fitness center and fully stocked kitchens.
•Community & Social Impact. Giving back is one of our core values. We demonstrate this through our charitable giving program, EPR Impact, a key cornerstone of our social responsibility. Through a number of employees actively engaged in nonprofits and our commitment to donating to and sponsoring charitable causes and events, we are fortunate to partner with amazing organizations both locally and nationally. As a benefit to employees, EPR Impact’s annual budget includes a pool of funds to support employee-directed contributions to nonprofit organizations where an employee is personally involved. Additionally, EPR will match employee contributions annually up to a given amount for contributions from their personal funds to nonprofit organizations that meet the criteria of the program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, “EPRcares” was formed as a way to raise employee funds to provide relief to local front-line workers. This initiative raised over $47,000 and aided 51 organizations in 2020. Additionally, EPR Impact launched a giving initiative, “The Amazing Giving Race,” to support local companies.
To maintain our status as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must distribute to our shareholders at least 90% of our taxable income for a calendar year, as well as satisfy certain assets, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis. In addition, we are subject to numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations applicable to owners of real property. For instance, under federal, state and local environmental laws, we may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of certain hazardous or toxic substances at, on, in or under our properties, as well as certain other potential costs relating to hazardous or toxic substances (including government fines and penalties and damages for injuries to persons and adjacent property). These laws may impose liability without regard to whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence or disposal of those substances. In addition, most of our properties must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The ADA requires that public accommodations reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities and that new construction or alterations be made to commercial facilities to conform to accessibility guidelines. The ownership, operation, and management of our gaming facilities are also subject to pervasive regulation. These gaming regulations impact our gaming tenants and persons associated with our gaming facilities, which in many jurisdictions include us as the landlord and owner of the real estate.
Our properties are also subject to various other federal, state and local regulatory requirements. We do not know whether existing requirements will change or whether compliance with future requirements will involve significant unanticipated expenditures. Although these expenditures would be the responsibility of our tenants in most cases and for our managers to oversee at our properties, if these tenants or managers fail to perform these obligations, we may be required to do so. For additional information regarding regulations applicable to our business, and risks associated with our failure to comply with such regulations, see Item 1A – "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Principal Executive Offices
The Company’s principal executive offices are located at 909 Walnut Street, Suite 200, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone (816) 472-1700.
Materials Available on Our Website
Our internet website address is www.eprkc.com. We make available, free of charge, through our website copies of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission” or “SEC”). You may also view our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Company Governance Guidelines, Independence Standards for Trustees and the charters of our Audit, Nominating/Company Governance, Finance and Compensation and Human Capital Committees on our website. Copies of these documents are also
available in print to any person who requests them. We do not intend for information contained in our website to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
There are many risks and uncertainties that can affect our current or future business, operating results, financial condition or share price. The following discussion describes important factors which could adversely affect our current or future business, operating results, financial condition or share price. This discussion includes a number of forward-looking statements. See "Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements."
Risks That May Impact Our Financial Condition or Performance
The current outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has negatively impacted and caused disruption to, and the continued COVID-19 outbreak or the future outbreak of any other highly infectious or contagious diseases could materially and adversely impact or cause disruption to, our performance, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has severely impacted global economic activity and caused significant volatility and negative pressure in financial markets. In the United States, governmental authorities have instituted quarantines, mandated business and school closures and restricted travel. As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely impact experiential real estate properties given that such properties rely on social interaction and discretionary consumer spending. Most of our tenants and borrowers announced temporary closures of their operations during this pandemic. Many experts predict that the outbreak will trigger a period of global economic slowdown or a global recession. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected, and the COVID-19 pandemic (or a future pandemic) could have material and adverse effects on, our ability, and the ability of our customers, to successfully operate and on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows due to, among other factors:
•complete or partial closures of, or other operational issues at, our properties resulting from government, tenant or borrower action;
•the reduced economic activity has severely impacted our tenants' and borrowers’ businesses, financial condition and liquidity and caused most of our tenants and borrowers to obtain modifications of their obligations to us;
•most of our tenants obtained varying levels of deferral of rent since the outbreak of COVID-19 and may have difficulty repaying those deferrals as they become due;
•the reduced economic activity could result in a recession, which could negatively impact consumer discretionary spending;
•difficulty accessing debt and equity capital on attractive terms, or at all, and a severe disruption and instability in the global financial markets or deteriorations in credit and financing conditions may affect our access to capital necessary to fund business operations or address maturing liabilities on a timely basis and our tenants' and borrowers’ ability to fund their business operations and meet their obligations to us;
•a general decline in business activity and demand for real estate transactions would adversely affect our ability or desire to grow our portfolio of experiential real estate properties;
•a deterioration in our and our tenants' and borrowers’ ability to operate in affected areas or delays in the supply of products or services to us and our tenants and borrowers from vendors that are needed for our and our tenants' and borrowers’ efficient operations has adversely affected our operations and those of our tenants and borrowers; and
•the potential negative impact on the health of our personnel, particularly if a significant number of them are impacted, would result in a deterioration in our ability to ensure business continuity during a disruption.
The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our operations and those of our tenants and borrowers will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the scope, severity and duration of the outbreak, the actions taken to contain the outbreak or mitigate its impact, the development and distribution of vaccines and the efficacy of those vaccines, the public’s confidence in the health and safety measures implemented by our tenants and borrowers, and the direct and indirect economic effects of the outbreak and containment measures, among others. The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
could negatively impact our future compliance with financial covenants of our credit facility and other debt agreements and result in a default and potentially an acceleration of indebtedness. Such non-compliance could negatively impact our ability to make additional borrowings under our revolving credit facility, pay dividends and repurchase common shares under our share repurchase program. As discussed below under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," we entered into amendments to our bank credit facilities and agreements regarding certain private placement notes that provide a temporary suspension or modification of certain of our financial covenants during the Covenant Relief Period. The Covenant Relief Period may be terminated earlier at our election at the end of a fiscal quarter if we would have been in compliance with financial covenants at the end of the quarter if the Covenant Relief Period had not been in effect. In connection with obtaining these covenant modifications, we temporarily suspended our monthly cash dividend to common shareholders and our share repurchase program. There can be no assurances as to our ability to reinstitute cash dividend payments to common shareholders or share repurchases or the timing thereof. The rapid development and fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic precludes any prediction as to the ultimate adverse impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected, and presents additional material uncertainty and risk with respect to, our performance, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Global economic uncertainty and disruptions in the financial markets may impair our ability to refinance existing obligations or obtain new financing for acquisition or development of properties.
There exists a high level of global economic uncertainty, including uncertainty regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic after its subsidence. Regarding experiential industries, it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact future consumer preferences regarding congregate activities, such as those offered by theatres, casinos, restaurants, attractions and other industries in which we invest. Political decisions and uncertainty in the U.S. and abroad, such as the direction and levels of stimulus spending in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have contributed to volatility in the global financial markets. Many economists believe that the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will present a significant risk of a recession to the U.S. economy. We rely in part on debt financing to finance our investments and development. To the extent that turmoil in the financial markets continues or intensifies, it has the potential to adversely affect our ability to refinance our existing obligations as they mature or obtain new financing for acquisition or development of properties and adversely affect the value of our investments. If we are unable to refinance existing indebtedness on attractive terms at its maturity, we may be forced to dispose of some of our assets. Uncertain economic conditions and disruptions in the financial markets could also result in a substantial decrease in the value of our investments, which could also make it more difficult to refinance existing obligations or obtain new financing. In addition, these factors may make it more difficult for us to sell properties or may adversely affect the price we receive for properties that we do sell, as prospective buyers may experience increased costs of capital or difficulties in obtaining capital. These events in the credit markets may have an adverse effect on other financial markets in the U.S., which may make it more difficult or costly for us to raise capital through the issuance of our common shares or preferred shares. In addition, disruptions in global financial markets may have other adverse effects on us, our tenants, our borrowers or the economy in general.
Most of our customers, consisting primarily of tenants and borrowers, operate properties in market segments that depend upon discretionary spending by consumers. Any continued reduction in discretionary spending by consumers within the market segments in which our customers or potential customers operate could adversely affect such customers' operations and, in turn, reduce the demand for our properties or financing solutions.
Most of our portfolio is leased to or financed with customers operating service or retail businesses on our property locations. Many of these customers operate services or businesses that are dependent upon consumer experiences. Theatre, eat & play, attraction, ski, experiential lodging, gaming, private school and early childhood education center properties, represent some of the largest market investments in our portfolio; and AMC, Topgolf, Regal Cinemas, Inc. and Cinemark USA, Inc. represented our largest customers for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. The success of most of these businesses depends on the willingness or ability of consumers to use their discretionary income to purchase our customers' products or services. In addition, the lodging and gaming industries are also highly sensitive to consumer discretionary spending. A downturn in the economy, or a trend to not want to go "out of home" could cause consumers in each of our property types to reduce their discretionary spending within the market segments in which our customers or potential customers operate, which could adversely affect such customers' operations and, in turn, reduce the demand for our properties or financing solutions. The current
COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced consumer discretionary spending, which is severely impacting experiential real estate properties, including those of our customers, and it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact future consumer preferences regarding congregate activities.
Covenants in our debt instruments could adversely affect our financial condition and our acquisitions and development activities.
Our unsecured revolving credit facility, term loan facility, senior notes and other loans that we may obtain in the future contain certain cross-default provisions as well as customary restrictions, requirements and other limitations on our ability to incur indebtedness, including covenants involving our maximum total debt to total asset value; maximum permitted investments; minimum tangible net worth; maximum secured debt to total asset value; maximum unsecured debt to eligible unencumbered properties; minimum unsecured interest coverage; and minimum fixed charge coverage. Our ability to borrow under our unsecured revolving credit facility and our term loan facility is also subject to compliance with certain other covenants. We also have senior notes issued in a private placement transaction that are subject to certain covenants. In addition, some of our properties are subject to mortgages that contain customary covenants such as those that limit our ability, without the prior consent of the lender, to further mortgage the applicable property or to discontinue insurance coverage.
As discussed below under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations", we entered into amendments to our bank credit facilities and agreements regarding certain private placement notes that provide a temporary suspension or modification of our financial covenants during the Covenant Relief Period. During the Covenant Relief Period, we are subject to certain restrictions, including limitations on certain investments, incurrences of indebtedness, capital expenditures, payment of dividends or other distributions and stock repurchases, and maintenance of a minimum liquidity amount, in each case subject to certain exceptions. There can be no assurance as to the timing of the termination of the Covenant Relief Period. In addition, upon termination of the Covenant Relief Period, failure to comply with our covenants or obtain modifications of such covenants could cause a default under the applicable debt instrument, and we may then be required to repay such debt with capital from other sources. The ongoing financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively impact our future compliance with financial covenants of our credit facility and other debt agreements and result in a default and potentially an acceleration of indebtedness. Under those circumstances, other sources of capital may not be available to us, or be available only on unattractive terms. Additionally, our ability to satisfy current or prospective lenders' insurance requirements may be adversely affected if lenders generally insist upon greater insurance coverage against acts of terrorism than is available to us in the marketplace or on commercially reasonable terms.
We rely on debt financing, including borrowings under our unsecured revolving credit facility, term loan facility, issuances of debt securities and debt secured by individual properties, to finance our acquisition and development activities and for working capital. If we are unable to obtain financing from these or other sources, or to refinance existing indebtedness upon maturity, our financial condition and results of operations would likely be adversely affected. The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our ability to comply with existing or modified financial covenants and obtain financing will depend on future developments, which, as discussed above, are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence.
Adverse changes in our credit ratings could impair our ability to obtain additional debt and equity financing on favorable terms, if at all, and negatively impact the market price of our securities, including our common shares.
The credit ratings of our senior unsecured debt and preferred equity securities are based on our operating performance, liquidity and leverage ratios, overall financial position and other factors employed by the credit rating agencies in their rating analysis of us. Our credit ratings can affect the amount and type of capital we can access, as well as the terms of any financings we may obtain, and downward changes in our credit ratings and outlook were recently made by certain credit rating agencies. There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain our current credit ratings, particularly in light of the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in the event that our current credit ratings further deteriorate, we would likely incur a higher cost of capital and it may be more difficult or expensive to obtain additional financing or refinance existing obligations and commitments. Also, further downgrades in our credit ratings would trigger additional costs or other potentially negative consequences under our current and future credit facilities and future debt instruments.
An increase in interest rates could increase interest cost on new debt and could materially adversely impact our ability to refinance existing debt, sell assets and limit our acquisition and development activities.
Although the U.S. Federal Reserve decreased its benchmark interest rate multiple times in 2019 and 2020, there can be no assurances that the rate will not increase in the future. If interest rates increase, so could our interest costs for any new debt. This increased cost could make the financing of any acquisition and development activity more costly. Rising interest rates could limit our ability to refinance existing debt when it matures or cause us to pay higher interest rates upon refinancing and increase interest expense on refinanced indebtedness. In addition, an increase in interest rates could decrease the amount third parties are willing to pay for our assets, thereby limiting our ability to reposition our portfolio promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions.
We depend on leasing space to tenants on economically favorable terms and collecting rent from our tenants, who may not be able to pay.
At any time, a tenant may experience a downturn in its business that may weaken its financial condition. Similarly, a general decline in the economy may result in a decline in demand for space at our commercial properties. Our financial results depend significantly on leasing space at our properties to tenants on economically favorable terms. In addition, because a majority of our income comes from leasing real property, our income, funds available to pay indebtedness and funds available for distribution to our shareholders or share repurchases will decrease if a significant number of our tenants cannot pay their rent or if we are not able to maintain our levels of occupancy on favorable terms. If our tenants cannot pay their rent or we are not able to maintain our levels of occupancy on favorable terms, there is also a risk that the fair value of the underlying property will be considered less than its carrying value and we may have to take a charge against earnings. In addition, if a tenant does not pay its rent, we might not be able to enforce our rights as landlord without significant delays and substantial legal costs.
If a tenant becomes bankrupt or insolvent, that could diminish or eliminate the income we expect from that tenant's leases. If a tenant becomes insolvent or bankrupt, we cannot be sure that we could recover the premises from the tenant promptly or from a trustee or debtor-in-possession in a bankruptcy proceeding relating to the tenant. On the other hand, a bankruptcy court might authorize the tenant to terminate its leases with us. If that happens, our claim against the bankrupt tenant for unpaid future rent would be subject to statutory limitations that might be substantially less than the remaining rent owed under the leases. In addition, any claim we have for unpaid past rent would likely not be paid in full and we would also have to take a charge against earnings for any accrued straight-line rent receivable related to the leases.
The reduced economic activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting our tenants' businesses, financial condition and liquidity and has caused most of our tenants to be unable to meet their obligations to us in full, or at all, or to otherwise seek modifications of such obligations. We also anticipate that one or more of our tenants may become bankrupt or insolvent as a result of this reduced economic activity. The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the operations of our tenants will depend on future developments, which, as discussed above, are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence.
We are exposed to the credit risk of our customers and counterparties and their failure to meet their financial obligations could adversely affect our business.
Our business is subject to credit risk. There is a risk that a customer or counterparty will fail to meet its obligations when due. Customers and counterparties that owe us money may default on their obligations to us due to bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, operational failure or other reasons. Although we have procedures for reviewing credit exposures to specific customers and counterparties to address present credit concerns, default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect or foresee. Some of our risk management methods depend upon the evaluation of information regarding markets, clients or other matters that are publicly available or otherwise accessible by us. That information may not, in all cases, be accurate, complete, up-to-date or properly evaluated. In addition, concerns about, or a default by, one customer or counterparty could lead to significant liquidity problems, losses or defaults by other customers or counterparties, which in turn could adversely affect us. We have experienced customer defaults resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect to experience future defaults, the breadth of which will depend upon the scope, severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. We may be materially and adversely affected in the event of a significant default by our customers and counterparties.
We could be adversely affected by a borrower's bankruptcy or default.
If a borrower becomes bankrupt or insolvent or defaults under its loan, that could force us to declare a default and foreclose on any available collateral. As a result, future interest income recognition related to the applicable note receivable could be significantly reduced or eliminated. There is also a risk that the fair value of the collateral, if any, will be less than the carrying value of the note and accrued interest receivable at the time of a foreclosure and we may have to take a charge against earnings. If a property serves as collateral for a note, we may experience costs and delays in recovering the property in foreclosure or finding a substitute operator for the property. If a mortgage we hold is subordinated to senior financing secured by the property, our recovery would be limited to any amount remaining after satisfaction of all amounts due to the holder of the senior financing. In addition, to protect our subordinated investment, we may desire to refinance any senior financing. However, there is no assurance that such refinancing would be available or, if it were to be available, that the terms would be attractive. We experienced borrower defaults resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we may experience future defaults, the breadth of which will depend upon the scope, severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. One or more of our borrowers may become bankrupt or insolvent as a result of this reduced economic activity. The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the operations of our borrowers will depend on future developments, which, as discussed above, are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence.
From time to time, the base terms of some of our leases will expire and there is no assurance that such leases will be renewed at existing lease terms, at otherwise economically favorable terms or at all.
From time to time, the base terms of some of our leases with our tenants will expire. These tenants have and may continue to seek rent or other concessions from us, including requiring us to modify the properties in order to renew their leases. There is no guarantee that we will be able to renew these leases at existing lease terms, at otherwise economically favorable terms or at all. In addition, if we fail to renew these leases, there can be no assurances that we will be able to locate substitute tenants for such properties or enter into leases with these substitute tenants on economically favorable terms.
Operating risks in the experiential real estate industry may affect the ability of our tenants to perform under their leases.
The ability of our tenants to operate successfully in the experiential real estate industry and remain current on their lease obligations depends on a number of factors, including, with respect to theatres, the availability and popularity of motion pictures, the performance of those pictures in tenants' markets, the allocation of popular pictures to tenants, the release window (represents the time that elapses from the date of a picture's theatrical release to the date it is available on other mediums) and the terms on which the pictures are licensed. Neither we nor our tenants control the operations of motion picture distributors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, motion picture distributors have increasingly relied upon streaming as a method of delivering product, including Warner Bros. announced simultaneous release of “Wonder Woman 1984” to theatres and streaming on HBO Max. There can be no assurances that motion picture distributors will continue to rely on theatres as the primary means of distributing first-run films, and motion picture distributors have and may in the future consider alternative film delivery methods. In addition, in August 2020, a U.S. District Court granted the U.S. Department of Justice's request to terminate the Paramount Consent Decrees, which prohibit movie studios from owning theatres or utilizing "block booking," a practice whereby movie studios sell multiple films as a package to theatres, in addition to other restrictions. The termination was effective immediately for certain restrictions, while other restrictions are subject to a two-year sunset period. There can be no assurances as to the effects of this regulatory action or whether this regulatory action will materially adversely affect our theatre tenants' operations and, in turn, their ability to perform under their leases.
Our other experiential customers are exposed to the risk of adverse economic conditions that can affect experiential activities. Eat & play, ski, attraction, experiential lodging, gaming, fitness & wellness and cultural properties are discretionary activities that can entail a relatively high cost of participation and may be adversely affected by an economic slowdown or recession. Economic conditions, including high unemployment and erosion of consumer confidence, may potentially have negative effects on our customers and on their results of operations. The reduced economic activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting our tenants' businesses, financial condition and liquidity. The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the operations of our tenants will depend on future developments, which, as discussed above, are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with
confidence. We cannot predict what impact these uncertainties may have on overall guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends and the ultimate impact it will have on our tenants' and mortgagors' operations and, in turn, their ability to perform under their respective leases or mortgages.
Real estate is a competitive business.
Our business operates in highly competitive environments. We compete with a large number of real estate property investors and developers including traded and non-traded public REITS, private equity investors and institutional investment funds. Some of these investors may be willing to accept lower returns on their investments, or have greater financial resources than we do, a greater ability to borrow funds to acquire properties and the ability to accept more risk than we prudently manage. This competition may increase the demand for the types of properties in which we typically invest and, therefore, reduce the number of suitable acquisition opportunities available to us and increase the prices paid for such acquisition properties. This competition will increase if investments in real estate become more attractive relative to other types of investment. Accordingly, competition for the acquisition of real property could materially and adversely affect us.
Principal factors of competition are rent or interest charged, attractiveness of location, the quality of the property and breadth and quality of services provided. If our competitors offer space at rental rates below the rental rates we are currently charging our tenants, we may lose potential tenants, and we may be pressured to reduce our rental rates below those we currently charge in order to retain tenants when our tenants' leases expire. Our success depends upon, among other factors, trends of the national and local economies, financial condition and operating results of current and prospective tenants and customers, availability and cost of capital, construction and renovation costs, taxes, governmental regulations, legislation and population trends.
Four tenants represent a significant portion of our lease revenues.
AMC, Topgolf, Regal Cinemas Inc. and Cinemark USA, Inc., represent a significant portion of our total revenue. For the year ended December 31, 2020, total revenues of approximately $30.0 million or 7.2% were from AMC, approximately $80.7 million or 19.5% were from TopGolf, approximately $13.1 million or 3.1% were from Regal and approximately $42.1 million or 10.1% were from Cinemark. The COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting these tenants', as well as our other tenants' businesses, financial condition and liquidity.
We have diversified and expect to continue to diversify our real estate portfolio by entering into lease transactions or financing arrangements with a number of other tenants or borrowers. If for any reason AMC, TopGolf, Regal and/or Cinemark failed to perform under their lease obligations for a significant period of time, or under any modified lease obligations, we could be required to reduce or suspend our shareholder dividends or share repurchases and may not have sufficient funds to support operations or service our debt until substitute tenants are obtained. If that happened, we cannot predict when or whether we could obtain substitute quality tenants on acceptable terms.
Properties we develop may not achieve sufficient operating results within expected timeframes and therefore the tenant or borrowers may not be able to pay their agreed upon rent or interest, and managed properties may not be able to operate profitably, which could adversely affect our financial results.
A significant portion of our investments include investments in build-to-suit projects. When construction is completed, these projects may require some period of time to achieve targeted operating results. For properties leased or financed, we may provide our tenants or borrowers with lease or financing terms that are more favorable to them during this timeframe. Tenants and borrowers that fail to achieve targeted operating results within expected timeframes may be unable to pay their obligations pursuant to the agreed upon lease or financing terms or at all. If we are required to restructure lease or financing terms or take other action with respect to the applicable property, our financial results may be impacted by lower revenues, recording an impairment or provision for loan loss, writing off rental or interest amounts or otherwise. Additionally, if we have entered into a management agreement to operate a property we have developed, the project may not be able to achieve targeted operating results which may impact our financial results by lowering income or recording an impairment loss.
We have entered into management agreements to operate certain of our properties and we could be adversely affected if such managers do not manage these properties successfully.
To maintain our status as a REIT, we are generally not permitted to directly operate our properties. As a result, from time to time, we enter into management agreements with third-party managers to operate certain properties. In the past, this practice has been most frequent with our experiential lodging properties. However, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also begun managing a small number of theatres formerly operated by our tenants and may manage a greater number in the future if defaults result in our taking back additional theatre locations. For managed properties, our ability to direct and control how our properties are operated is less than if we were able to manage these properties directly. Under the terms of our management agreements, our participation in operating decisions relating to these properties is generally limited to certain matters. We do not supervise any of these managers or their personnel on a day-to-day basis. We cannot provide any assurances that the managers will manage our properties in a manner that is consistent with their respective obligations under the applicable management agreement or our obligations under any franchise agreements. We could be materially and adversely affected if any of our managers fail to effectively manage revenues and expenses, provide quality services and amenities, or otherwise fail to manage our properties in our best interests, and we may be financially responsible for the actions and inactions of the managers. In certain situations, we may terminate the management agreement. However, we can provide no assurances that we could identify a replacement manager, or that the replacement manager will manage our property successfully. A failure by our third-party managers to successfully manage our properties could lead to an increase in our operating expenses or decrease in our revenue, or both.
Our indebtedness may affect our ability to operate our business and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2020, we had total debt outstanding of approximately $3.7 billion, including $590.0 million outstanding under our revolving credit facility, drawn as a precautionary measure to increase our cash position and preserve financial flexibility that was subsequently paid down to $90.0 million in January 2021. Our indebtedness could have important consequences, such as:
•limiting our ability to obtain additional financing to fund our working capital needs, acquisitions, capital expenditures or other debt service requirements or for other purposes;
•limiting our ability to use operating cash flow in other areas of our business because we must dedicate a substantial portion of these funds to service debt;
•limiting our ability to compete with other companies who are not as highly leveraged, as we may be less capable of responding to adverse economic and industry conditions;
•restricting us from making strategic acquisitions, developing properties or pursuing business opportunities;
•restricting the way in which we conduct our business because of financial and operating covenants in the agreements governing our existing and future indebtedness;
•exposing us to potential events of default (if not cured or waived) under financial and operating covenants contained in our debt instruments that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results;
•increasing our vulnerability to a downturn in general economic conditions or in pricing of our investments;
•negatively impacting our credit ratings; and
•limiting our ability to react to changing market conditions in our industry and in our customers’ industries.
In addition to our debt service obligations, our operations require substantial investments on a continuing basis. Our ability to make scheduled debt payments, to refinance our obligations with respect to our indebtedness and to fund capital and non-capital expenditures necessary to meet our remaining commitments on existing projects and maintain the condition of our assets, as well as to provide capacity for the growth of our business, depends on our financial and operating performance, which, in turn, is subject to prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, competitive, legal and other factors.
Subject to the restrictions in our unsecured revolving credit facility, our unsecured term loan facility and the debt instruments governing our existing senior notes, we may incur significant additional indebtedness, including additional secured indebtedness. Although the terms of our unsecured revolving credit facility, our unsecured term loan facility and the debt instruments governing our existing senior notes contain restrictions on the incurrence of
additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to a number of qualifications and exceptions, and additional indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be significant. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the risks described above could increase.
The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted our compliance with financial covenants of our credit facility and other debt agreements. As discussed below under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations", during 2020, we entered into amendments to our unsecured revolving credit facility, our unsecured term loan facility and the debt instruments governing our certain private placement notes to provide for a Covenant Relief Period. Upon expiration of the Covenant Relief Period, those financial covenants will apply and our failure to comply with the financial covenants of our credit facility and other debt agreements could result in a default and potentially an acceleration of indebtedness. Such non-compliance could negatively impact our ability to make additional borrowings under our revolving credit facility, pay dividends and repurchase common shares under our share repurchase program. There can be no assurances that we will be able to comply with financial covenants in future periods. The ultimate extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our operations will depend on future developments, which, as discussed above, are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence.
There are risks inherent in having indebtedness and using such indebtedness to fund acquisitions.
We currently use debt to fund portions of our operations and acquisitions. In a rising interest rate environment, the cost of our existing variable rate debt and any new debt will increase. We have used leverage to acquire properties and expect to continue to do so in the future. Although the use of leverage is common in the real estate industry, our use of debt exposes us to some risks. If a significant number of our tenants fail to make their lease payments for a significant period of time, the risk of which has been heightened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we do not have sufficient cash to pay principal and interest on the debt, we could default on our debt obligations. A small amount of our debt financing is secured by mortgages on our properties and we may enter into additional secured mortgage financing in the future. If we fail to meet our mortgage payments, the lenders could declare a default and foreclose on those properties.
Most of our debt instruments contain balloon payments which may adversely impact our financial performance and our ability to pay dividends.
Most of our financing arrangements require us to make a lump-sum or "balloon" payment at maturity. There can be no assurance that we will be able to refinance such debt on favorable terms or at all. To the extent we cannot refinance such debt on favorable terms or at all, we may be forced to dispose of properties on disadvantageous terms or pay higher interest rates, either of which would have an adverse impact on our financial performance and ability to pay dividends to our shareholders.
We must obtain new financing in order to grow.
As a REIT, we are required to distribute at least 90% of our taxable net income to shareholders in the form of dividends. Other than deciding to make these dividends in our common shares, we are limited in our ability to use internal capital to acquire properties and must continually raise new capital in order to continue to grow and diversify our investment portfolio. Our ability to raise new capital depends in part on factors beyond our control, including conditions in equity and credit markets, conditions in the industries in which our tenants are engaged and the performance of real estate investment trusts generally, all of which have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We continually consider and evaluate a variety of potential transactions to raise additional capital, but we cannot assure that attractive alternatives will always be available to us, nor that our share price will increase or remain at a level that will permit us to continue to raise equity capital publicly or privately, particularly in light of the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Our real estate investments are concentrated in experiential real estate properties and a significant portion of those investments are in megaplex theatre properties, making us more vulnerable economically than if our investments were more diversified.
We acquire, develop or finance experiential real estate properties. A significant portion of our investments are in megaplex theatre properties. Although we are subject to the general risks inherent in concentrating investments in real estate, the risks resulting from a lack of diversification become even greater as a result of investing primarily in experiential real estate properties. These risks are further heightened by the fact that a significant portion of our investments are in megaplex theatre properties. Although a downturn in the real estate industry could significantly adversely affect the value of our properties, a downturn in the experiential real estate industry could compound this adverse effect. These adverse effects could be more pronounced than if we diversified our investments to a greater degree outside of experiential real estate properties or, more particularly, outside of megaplex theatre properties. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting experiential real estate properties, particularly theatre operations, given that such properties rely on social interaction and discretionary consumer spending and have been subject to state and local governmental restrictions.
If we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would be taxed as a corporation, which would substantially reduce funds available for payment of dividends to our shareholders.
If we fail to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we will be taxed as a corporation. We are organized to and believe we qualify as a REIT, and intend to operate in a manner that will allow us to continue to qualify as a REIT. However, we cannot provide any assurance that we have always qualified and will remain qualified in the future. This is because qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"), on which there are only limited judicial and administrative interpretations, and depends on facts and circumstances not entirely within our control, including requirements relating to the sources of our gross income. Rents received or accrued by us from our tenants may not be treated as qualifying income for purposes of these requirements if the leases are not respected as true leases or qualified financing arrangements for U.S. federal income tax purposes and instead are treated as service contracts, joint ventures or some other type of arrangement. If some or all of our leases are not respected as true leases or qualified financing arrangements for U.S. federal income tax purposes and are not otherwise treated as generating qualifying REIT income, we may fail to qualify to be taxed as a REIT. Furthermore, our qualification as a REIT will depend on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis. Our ability to satisfy the asset tests depends upon our analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we may not obtain independent appraisals. In addition, future legislation, new regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions may significantly change the tax laws, the application of the tax laws to our qualification as a REIT or the U.S. federal income tax consequences of that qualification.
If we were to fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year (including any prior taxable year for which the statute of limitations remains open), we would face tax consequences that could substantially reduce the funds available for the service of our debt and payment of dividends:
•we would not be allowed a deduction for dividends paid to shareholders in computing our taxable income and would be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate rates;
•we could be subject to increased state and local taxes;
•unless we are entitled to relief under statutory provisions, we could not elect to be treated as a REIT for four taxable years following the year in which we were disqualified; and
•we could be subject to tax penalties and interest.
In addition, if we fail to qualify as a REIT, we will no longer be required to pay dividends. As a result of these factors, our failure to qualify as a REIT could adversely affect the market price for our shares.
Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our funds available for payment of dividends to our shareholders or the repurchase of shares.
Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, we may be subject to federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, excise taxes, state or local income, property and transfer taxes, and other taxes. Also, some jurisdictions may in the future limit or eliminate favorable income tax deductions, including the dividends paid deduction, which could increase our income tax expense. In addition, in order to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, prevent the recognition of particular types of non-cash income, or avert the imposition of a 100% tax that applies to specified gains derived by a REIT from dealer property or inventory, we may hold or dispose of some of our assets and conduct some of our operations through our TRSs or other subsidiary corporations that will be subject to corporate level income tax at regular rates. In addition, while we intend that our transactions with our TRSs will be conducted on arm's length bases, we may be subject to a 100% excise tax on a transaction that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") or a court determines was not conducted at arm's length. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for distribution to our shareholders or the repurchase of shares under our share repurchase program.
Distribution requirements imposed by law limit our flexibility.
To maintain our status as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we are generally required to distribute to our shareholders at least 90% of our taxable income for that calendar year. Our taxable income is determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid and by excluding net capital gains. To the extent that we satisfy the distribution requirement but distribute less than 100% of our taxable income, we will be subject to federal corporate income tax on our undistributed income. In addition, we will incur a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the amount, if any, by which our distributions in any year are less than the sum of (i) 85% of our ordinary income for that year, (ii) 95% of our capital gain net income for that year and (iii) 100% of our undistributed taxable income from prior years. We intend to continue to make distributions to our shareholders to comply with the distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and to reduce exposure to federal income and nondeductible excise taxes. Differences in timing between the receipt of income and the payment of expenses in determining our taxable income and the effect of required debt amortization payments could require us to borrow funds on a short-term basis in order to meet the distribution requirements that are necessary to achieve the tax benefits associated with qualifying as a REIT.
If arrangements involving our TRSs fail to comply as intended with the REIT qualification and taxation rules, we may fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code or be subject to significant penalty taxes.
We lease some of our experiential lodging properties to our TRSs pursuant to arrangements that, under the Internal Revenue Code, are intended to qualify the rents we receive from our TRSs as income that satisfies the REIT gross income tests. We also intend that our transactions with our TRSs be conducted on arm's length bases so that we and our TRSs will not be subject to penalty taxes under the Internal Revenue Code applicable to mispriced transactions. While relief provisions can sometimes excuse REIT gross income test failures, significant penalty taxes may still be imposed.
For our TRS arrangements to comply as intended with the REIT qualification and taxation rules under the Internal Revenue Code, a number of requirements must be satisfied, including:
•our TRSs may not directly or indirectly operate or manage a lodging facility, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code;
•the leases to our TRSs must be respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes and not as service contracts, partnerships, joint ventures, financings or other types of arrangements;
•the leased properties must constitute qualified lodging facilities (including customary amenities and facilities) under the Internal Revenue Code;
•our leased properties must be managed and operated on behalf of the TRSs by independent contractors who are less than 35% affiliated with us and who are actively engaged (or have affiliates so engaged) in the trade or business of managing and operating qualified lodging facilities for persons unrelated to us; and
•the rental and other terms of the leases must be arm's length.
We cannot be sure that the IRS or a court will agree with our assessment that our TRS arrangements comply as intended with REIT qualification and taxation rules. If arrangements involving our TRSs fail to comply as we intended, we may fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code or be subject to significant penalty taxes.
We may depend on distributions from our direct and indirect subsidiaries to service our debt, pay dividends to our shareholders and repurchase shares. The creditors of these subsidiaries, and our direct creditors, are entitled to amounts payable to them before we pay any dividends to our shareholders or repurchase shares.
Substantially all of our assets are held through our subsidiaries. We depend on these subsidiaries for substantially all of our cash flow from operations. The creditors of each of our direct and indirect subsidiaries are entitled to payment of that subsidiary's obligations to them, when due and payable, before distributions may be made by that subsidiary to us. In addition, our creditors, whether secured or unsecured, are entitled to amounts payable to them before we may pay any dividends to our shareholders or repurchase shares under our share repurchase program. Thus, our ability to service our debt obligations, pay dividends to holders of our common and preferred shares and repurchase shares depends on our subsidiaries' ability first to satisfy their obligations to their creditors and then to pay distributions to us and our ability to satisfy our obligations to our direct creditors. Our subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and have no obligations, other than limited guaranties of certain of our debt, to make funds available to us.
Our development financing arrangements expose us to funding and completion risks.
Our ability to meet our construction financing obligations which we have undertaken or may enter into in the future depends on our ability to obtain equity or debt financing in the required amounts. There is no assurance we can obtain this financing or that the financing rates available will ensure a spread between our cost of capital and the rent or interest payable to us under the related leases or mortgage notes receivable. As a result, we could fail to meet our construction financing obligations or decide to cease such funding which, in turn, could result in failed projects and penalties, each of which could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and business.
We have a limited number of employees and loss of personnel could harm our operations and adversely affect the value of our shares.
We had 53 full-time employees as of December 31, 2020 and, therefore, the impact we may feel from the loss of an employee may be greater than the impact such a loss would have on a larger organization. We are dependent on the efforts of the following individuals: Gregory K. Silvers, our President and Chief Executive Officer; Mark A. Peterson, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Craig L. Evans, our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary; Greg Zimmerman, our Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer; and Tonya L. Mater, our Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. While we believe that we could find replacements for our personnel, the loss of their services could harm our operations and adversely affect the value of our shares.
We are subject to risks associated with the employment of personnel by managers of certain of our properties.
Managers of certain of our properties are responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of these properties. Although we do not directly employ or manage employees at these properties, we are subject to many of the costs and risks associated with such labor force, including but not limited to risks associated with that certain union contract binding the manager of our Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark. From time to time, the operations of our properties that are managed by third parties may be disrupted as a result of strikes, lockouts, public demonstrations or other negative actions and publicity. We may also incur increased legal costs and indirect labor costs as a result of contract disputes and other events. The resolution of labor disputes or renegotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules.
We may in the future have greater dependence upon the gaming industry and may be susceptible to the risks associated with it, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects.
As a landlord of gaming facilities or secured creditor to gaming operators, we may be impacted by the risks associated with the gaming industry. Therefore, so long as we make investments in gaming-related assets, our success is dependent on the gaming industry, which could be adversely affected by economic conditions in general, changes in consumer trends and preferences and other factors over which we and our tenants have no control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A component of the rent under our gaming facility lease agreements will be based, over time, on the performance of the gaming facilities operated by our tenants on our properties and any decline in the operating results of our gaming tenants could be material and adverse to our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects.
The gaming industry is characterized by a high degree of competition among a large number of participants, including riverboat casinos, dockside casinos, land-based casinos, video lottery, sweepstakes and poker machines not located in casinos, Native American gaming, internet lotteries and other internet wagering gaming services and, in a broader sense, gaming operators face competition from all manner of leisure and entertainment activities. Gaming competition is intense in most of the markets where our facilities are located. Recently, there has been additional significant competition in the gaming industry as a result of the upgrading or expansion of facilities by existing market participants, the entrance of new gaming participants into a market, internet gaming and legislative changes. As competing properties and new markets are opened, we may be negatively impacted. Additionally, decreases in discretionary consumer spending brought about by weakened general economic conditions such as, but not limited to, lackluster recoveries from recessions, high unemployment levels, higher income taxes, low levels of consumer confidence, weakness in the housing market, cultural and demographic changes and increased stock market volatility may negatively impact our revenues and operating cash flows.
We will face extensive regulation from gaming and other regulatory authorities with respect to our gaming properties.
The ownership, operation, and management of gaming facilities are subject to pervasive regulation. These gaming regulations impact our gaming tenants and persons associated with our gaming facilities, which in many jurisdictions include us as the landlord and owner of the real estate. Certain gaming authorities in the jurisdictions in which we hold properties may require us and/or our affiliates to maintain a license as a key business entity or supplier because of our status as landlord. Gaming authorities also retain great discretion to require us to be found suitable as a landlord, and certain of our shareholders, officers and trustees may be required to be found suitable as well.
In many jurisdictions, gaming laws can require certain of our shareholders to file an application, be investigated, and qualify or have his, her or its suitability determined by gaming authorities. Gaming authorities have very broad discretion in determining whether an applicant should be deemed suitable. Subject to certain administrative proceeding requirements, the gaming regulators have the authority to deny any application or limit, condition, restrict, revoke or suspend any license, registration, finding of suitability or approval, or fine any person licensed, registered or found suitable or approved, for any cause deemed reasonable by the gaming authorities.
Gaming authorities may conduct investigations into the conduct or associations of our trustees, officers, key employees or investors to ensure compliance with applicable standards. If we are required to be found suitable and are found suitable as a landlord, we will be registered as a public company with the gaming authorities and will be subject to disciplinary action if, after we receive notice that a person is unsuitable to be a shareholder or to have any other relationship with us, we:
•pay that person any distribution or interest upon any of our voting securities;
•allow that person to exercise, directly or indirectly, any voting right conferred through securities held by that person;
•pay remuneration in any form to that person for services rendered or otherwise; or
•fail to pursue all lawful efforts to require such unsuitable person to relinquish his or her voting securities, including, if necessary, the immediate purchase of the voting securities for cash at fair market value.
Many jurisdictions also require any person who acquires beneficial ownership of more than a certain percentage of voting securities of a gaming company and, in some jurisdictions, non-voting securities, typically 5% of a publicly-traded company, to report the acquisition to gaming authorities, and gaming authorities may require such holders to apply for qualification, licensure or a finding of suitability, subject to limited exceptions for "institutional investors" that hold a company's voting securities for passive investment purposes only.
Required regulatory approvals can delay or prohibit transfers of our gaming properties, which could result in periods in which we are unable to receive rent for such properties.
Our tenant is (and any future tenants of our gaming properties will be) required to be licensed under applicable law in order to operate any of our properties that are gaming facilities. If our gaming facility lease agreements, or any future lease agreement we enter into, are terminated (which could be required by a regulatory agency) or expire, any new tenant must be licensed and receive other regulatory approvals to operate our properties as gaming facilities. Any delay in, or inability of, the new tenant to receive required licenses and other regulatory approvals from the applicable state and county government agencies may prolong the period during which we are unable to collect the applicable rent. Further, in the event that our gaming facility lease agreements or future lease agreements are terminated or expire and a new tenant is not licensed or fails to receive other regulatory approvals, the properties may not be operated as gaming facilities and we will not be able to collect the applicable rent. Moreover, we may be unable to transfer or sell the affected properties as gaming facilities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects.
Security breaches and other disruptions could compromise our information and expose us to liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer. Our service providers, tenants and managers of our properties and their business partners are exposed to similar risks.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including our proprietary business information and that of our tenants, managers of our properties and other customers and personally identifiable information of our employees, in our facility and on our network. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. Any such breach could compromise our network and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, disrupt our operations, damage our reputation, and cause a loss of confidence, which could adversely affect our business. Our service providers, tenants, managers of our properties and other customers and their business partners are exposed to similar risks and the occurrence of a security breach or other disruption with respect to their information technology and infrastructure could, in turn, have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and business.
Changes in accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") or other standard-setting bodies may adversely affect our business.
Our financial statements are subject to the application of U.S. GAAP, which is periodically revised and/or expanded. From time to time, we are required to adopt new or revised accounting standards issued by recognized authoritative bodies, including the FASB and the SEC. It is possible that accounting standards we are required to adopt may require changes to the current accounting treatment that we apply to our consolidated financial statements and may require us to make significant changes to our systems. Changes in accounting standards could result in a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks That Apply to Our Real Estate Business
Real estate income and the value of real estate investments fluctuate due to various factors.
The value of real estate fluctuates depending on conditions in the general economy and the real estate business. These conditions may also limit our revenues and available cash. The rents, interest and other payments we receive and the occupancy levels at our properties may decline as a result of adverse changes in any of the factors that affect the value of our real estate. If our revenues decline, we generally would expect to have less cash available to pay our indebtedness, distribute to our shareholders and effect share repurchases. In addition, some of our unreimbursed costs of owning real estate may not decline when the related rents decline.
The factors that affect the value of our real estate include, among other things:
•international, national, regional and local economic conditions;
•consequences of any armed conflict involving, or terrorist attack against, the United States or Canada;
•the threat of domestic terrorism or pandemic outbreaks (such as COVID-19), which could cause consumers to avoid congregate settings;
•our ability or the ability of our tenants or managers to secure adequate insurance;
•natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, which could exceed the aggregate limits of insurance coverage;
•local conditions such as an oversupply of space or lodging properties or a reduction in demand for real estate in the area;
•competition from other available space or, in the case of our experiential lodging properties, competition from other lodging properties or alternative lodging options in our markets;
•whether tenants and users such as customers of our tenants consider a property attractive;
•the financial condition of our tenants, mortgagors and managers, including the extent of bankruptcies or defaults;
•whether we are able to pass some or all of any increased operating costs through to tenants or other customers;
•how well we manage our properties or how well the managers of properties manage those properties;
•in the case of our experiential lodging properties, dependence on demand from business and leisure travelers, which may fluctuate and be seasonal;
•fluctuations in interest rates;
•changes in real estate taxes and other expenses;
•changes in market rental rates;
•the timing and costs associated with property improvements and rentals;
•changes in taxation or zoning laws;
•availability of financing on acceptable terms or at all;
•potential liability under environmental or other laws or regulations; and
•general competitive factors.
The rents, interest and other payments we receive and the occupancy levels at our properties may decline as a result of adverse changes in any of these factors. If our revenues decline, we generally would expect to have less cash available to pay our indebtedness and distribute to our shareholders. In addition, some of our unreimbursed costs of owning real estate may not decline when the related rents decline.
There are risks associated with owning and leasing real estate.
Although our lease terms in most cases, obligate the tenants to bear substantially all of the costs of operating the properties and our managers to manage such costs, investing in real estate involves a number of risks, including:
•the risk that tenants will not perform under their leases or that managers will not perform under their management agreements, reducing our income from such leases or properties under such management;
•we may not always be able to lease properties at favorable rates or certain tenants may require significant capital expenditures by us to conform existing properties to their requirements;
•we may not always be able to sell a property when we desire to do so at a favorable price; and
•changes in tax, zoning or other laws could make properties less attractive or less profitable.
If a tenant fails to perform on its lease covenants or a manager fails to perform on its management covenants, that would not excuse us from meeting any debt obligation secured by the property and could require us to fund reserves in favor of our lenders, thereby reducing funds available for payment of dividends. We cannot be assured that tenants or managers will elect to renew their leases or management agreements when the terms expire. If a tenant or manager does not renew its lease or agreement or if a tenant or a manager defaults on its lease or management obligations, there is no assurance we could obtain a substitute tenant or manager on acceptable terms. If we cannot
obtain another quality tenant or manager, we may be required to modify the property for a different use, which may involve a significant capital expenditure and a delay in re-leasing the property or obtaining a new manager. In addition, tenants or managers may seek concessions or other modifications to existing leases and management agreements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some potential losses are not covered by insurance.
Our leases with tenants and agreements with managers of our properties require the tenants and managers to carry comprehensive liability, casualty, workers' compensation, extended coverage and rental loss insurance on our properties, as applicable. We believe the required coverage is of the type, and amount, customarily obtained by an owner of similar properties. We believe all of our properties are adequately insured. However, we are exposed to risks that the insurance coverage levels required under our leases with tenants and agreements with managers of our properties may be inadequate, and these risks may be increased as we expand our portfolio into experiential properties that may present more risk of loss as compared to properties in our existing portfolio. In addition, there are some types of losses, such as pandemics, catastrophic acts of nature, acts of war or riots, for which we, our tenants or managers of our properties cannot obtain insurance at an acceptable cost or at all. If there is an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insurance limits, we could lose both the revenues generated by the affected property and the capital we have invested in the property. We would, however, remain obligated to repay any mortgage indebtedness or other obligations related to the property. In addition, the cost of insurance protection against terrorist acts has risen dramatically over the years. There can be no assurance our tenants or managers of our properties will be able to obtain terrorism insurance coverage, as applicable, or that any coverage they do obtain will adequately protect our properties against loss from terrorist attack.
Joint ventures may limit flexibility with jointly owned investments.
We may continue to acquire or develop properties in joint ventures with third parties when those transactions appear desirable. We would not own the entire interest in any property acquired by a joint venture. Major decisions regarding a joint venture property may require the consent of our partner. If we have a dispute with a joint venture partner, we may feel it necessary or become obligated to acquire the partner's interest in the venture. However, we cannot ensure that the price we would have to pay or the timing of the acquisition would be favorable to us. If we own less than a 50% interest in any joint venture, or if the venture is jointly controlled, the assets and financial results of the joint venture may not be reportable by us on a consolidated basis. To the extent we have commitments to, or on behalf of, or are dependent on, any such "off-balance sheet" arrangements, or if those arrangements or their properties or leases are subject to material contingencies, our liquidity, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected by those commitments or off-balance sheet arrangements.
Our multi-tenant properties expose us to additional risks.
Our entertainment districts in Colorado, New York, California, and Ontario, Canada, and similar properties we may seek to acquire or develop in the future, involve risks not typically encountered in the purchase and lease-back of real estate properties which are operated by a single tenant. The ownership or development of multi-tenant retail centers could expose us to the risk that a sufficient number of suitable tenants may not be found to enable the centers to operate profitably and provide a return to us. This risk may be compounded by the failure of existing tenants to satisfy their obligations due to various factors, including economic downturns. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting our retail tenants' businesses, financial condition and liquidity, which has resulted in most of these tenants failing to satisfy their obligations to us or otherwise seeking modifications to their lease arrangements. These risks, in turn, could cause a material adverse impact to our results of operations and business.
Retail centers are also subject to tenant turnover and fluctuations in occupancy rates, which could affect our operating results. Multi-tenant retail centers also expose us to the risk of potential "CAM slippage," which may occur when the actual cost of taxes, insurance and maintenance at the property exceeds the CAM fees paid by tenants.
Failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws could result in substantial costs.
Most of our properties must comply with the ADA. The ADA requires that public accommodations reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities and that new construction or alterations be made to commercial facilities to conform to accessibility guidelines. Failure to comply with the ADA can result in injunctions, fines, damage
awards to private parties and additional capital expenditures to remedy noncompliance. Our leases with tenants and agreements with managers of our properties require them to comply with the ADA.
Our properties are also subject to various other federal, state and local regulatory requirements. We do not know whether existing requirements will change or whether compliance with future requirements will involve significant unanticipated expenditures. Although these expenditures would be the responsibility of our tenants in most cases and for our managers to oversee at our properties, if these tenants or managers fail to perform these obligations, we may be required to do so.
Potential liability for environmental contamination could result in substantial costs.
Under federal, state and local environmental laws, we may be required to investigate and clean up any release of hazardous or toxic substances or petroleum products at our properties, regardless of our knowledge or actual responsibility, simply because of our current or past ownership of the real estate. If unidentified environmental problems arise, we may have to make substantial payments, which could adversely affect our cash flow and our ability to service our debt and pay dividends to our shareholders. This is because:
•as owner, we may have to pay for property damage and for investigation and clean-up costs incurred in connection with the contamination;
•the law may impose clean-up responsibility and liability regardless of whether the owner or operator knew of or caused the contamination;
•even if more than one person is responsible for the contamination, each person who shares legal liability under environmental laws may be held responsible for all of the clean-up costs; and
•governmental entities and third parties may sue the owner or operator of a contaminated site for damages and costs.
These costs could be substantial and in extreme cases could exceed the value of the contaminated property. The presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products or the failure to properly remediate contamination may adversely affect our ability to borrow against, sell or lease an affected property. In addition, some environmental laws create liens on contaminated sites in favor of the government for damages and costs it incurs in connection with a contamination. Most of our loan agreements require the Company or a subsidiary to indemnify the lender against environmental liabilities. Our leases with tenants and agreements with managers of our properties require them to operate the properties in compliance with environmental laws and to indemnify us against environmental liability arising from the operation of the properties. We believe all of our properties are in material compliance with environmental laws. However, we could be subject to strict liability under environmental laws because we own the properties. There is also a risk that tenants may not satisfy their environmental compliance and indemnification obligations under the leases or other agreements. Any of these events could substantially increase our cost of operations, require us to fund environmental indemnities in favor of our lenders, limit the amount we could borrow under our unsecured revolving credit facility and term loan facility and reduce our ability to service our debt and pay dividends to shareholders.
Real estate investments are relatively illiquid.
We may desire to sell properties in the future because of changes in market conditions, poor tenant performance or default of any mortgage we hold, or to avail ourselves of other opportunities. We may also be required to sell a property in the future to meet debt obligations or avoid a default. Specialty real estate projects such as we have cannot always be sold quickly, and we cannot assure you that we could always obtain a favorable price. In addition, the Internal Revenue Code limits our ability to sell our properties. We may be required to invest in the restoration or modification of a property before we can sell it. The inability to respond promptly to changes in the performance of our property portfolio could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to service our debt, pay dividends to our shareholders and effect share repurchases.
There are risks in owning assets outside the United States.
Our properties in Canada are subject to the risks normally associated with international operations. The rentals under our Canadian leases are payable in Canadian dollars ("CAD"), which could expose us to losses resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates to the extent we have not hedged our position. Canadian real estate and tax laws are complex and subject to change, and we cannot assure you we will always be in compliance with those laws or that compliance will not expose us to additional expense. We may also be subject to fluctuations in Canadian real estate values or markets or the Canadian economy as a whole, which may adversely affect our Canadian investments.
Additionally, we have made investments in projects located in China and may enter other international markets, which may have similar risks as described above as well as unique risks associated with a specific country.
There are risks in owning or financing properties for which the tenant's, mortgagor's, or our operations may be impacted by weather conditions, climate change and natural disasters.
We have acquired and financed ski properties and expect to do so in the future. The operators of these properties, our tenants or mortgagors, are dependent upon the operations of the properties to pay their rents and service their loans. The ski property operator's ability to attract visitors is influenced by weather conditions and climate change in general, each of which may impact the amount of snowfall during the ski season. Adverse weather conditions may discourage visitors from participating in outdoor activities. In addition, unseasonably warm weather may result in inadequate natural snowfall, which increases the cost of snowmaking, and could render snowmaking wholly or partially ineffective in maintaining quality skiing conditions and attracting visitors. Excessive natural snowfall may materially increase the costs incurred for grooming trails and may also make it difficult for visitors to obtain access to ski properties. We also own and finance attractions (including waterparks) which would also be subject to risks relating to weather conditions such as in the case of waterparks and amusement parks, excessive rainfall or unseasonable temperatures. Prolonged periods of adverse weather conditions, or the occurrence of such conditions during peak visitation periods, could have a material adverse effect on the operator's financial results and could impair the ability of the operator to make rental or other payments or service our loans.
A severe natural disaster, such as a forest fire, may interrupt the operations of an operator, damage our properties, reduce the number of guests who visit the resorts in affected areas and negatively impact an operator's revenue and profitability. Damage to our properties could take a long time to repair and there is no guarantee that we would have adequate insurance to cover the costs of repair and recoup lost profits. Furthermore, such a disaster may interrupt or impede access to our affected properties or require evacuations and may cause visits to our affected properties to decrease for an indefinite period. The ability of our operators to attract visitors to our experiential lodging properties is also influenced by the aesthetics and natural beauty of the outdoor environment where these resorts are located. A severe forest fire or other severe impacts from naturally occurring events could negatively impact the natural beauty of our resort properties and have a long-term negative impact on an operator's overall guest visitation as it could take several years for the environment to recover.
We face risks associated with the development, redevelopment and expansion of properties and the acquisition of other real estate related companies.
We may develop, redevelop or expand new or existing properties or acquire other real estate related companies, and these activities are subject to various risks. We may not be successful in pursuing such development or acquisition opportunities. In addition, newly developed or redeveloped/expanded properties or newly acquired companies may not perform as well as expected. We are subject to other risks in connection with any such development or acquisition activities, including the following:
•we may not succeed in completing developments or consummating desired acquisitions on time;
•we may face competition in pursuing development or acquisition opportunities, which could increase our costs;
•we may encounter difficulties and incur substantial expenses in integrating acquired properties into our operations and systems and, in any event, the integration may require a substantial amount of time on the part of both our management and employees and therefore divert their attention from other aspects of our business;
•we may undertake developments or acquisitions in new markets or industries where we do not have the same level of market knowledge, which may expose us to unanticipated risks in those markets and industries to which we are unable to effectively respond, such as an inability to attract qualified personnel with knowledge of such markets and industries;
•we may incur construction costs in connection with developments, which may be higher than projected, potentially making the project unfeasible or unprofitable;
•we may incur unanticipated capital expenditures in order to maintain or improve acquired properties;
•we may be unable to obtain zoning, occupancy or other governmental approvals;
•we may experience delays in receiving rental payments for developments that are not completed on time;
•our developments or acquisitions may not be profitable;
•we may need the consent of third parties such as anchor tenants, mortgage lenders and joint venture partners, and those consents may be withheld;
•we may incur adverse tax consequences if we fail to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes following an acquisition;
•we may be subject to risks associated with providing mortgage financing to third parties in connection with transactions, including any default under such mortgage financing;
•we may face litigation or other claims in connection with, or as a result of, acquisitions, including claims from terminated employees, tenants, former stockholders or other third parties;
•the market price of our common shares, preferred shares and debt securities may decline, particularly if we do not achieve the perceived benefits of any acquisition as rapidly or to the extent anticipated by securities or industry analysts or if the effect of an acquisition on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows is not consistent with the expectations of these analysts;
•we may issue shares in connection with acquisitions resulting in dilution to our existing shareholders; and
•we may assume debt or other liabilities in connection with acquisitions.
In addition, there is no assurance that planned third-party financing related to development and acquisition opportunities will be provided on a timely basis or at all, thus increasing the risk that such opportunities are delayed or fail to be completed as originally contemplated. We may also abandon development or acquisition opportunities that we have begun pursuing and consequently fail to recover expenses already incurred and have devoted management time to a matter not consummated. In some cases, we may agree to lease or other financing terms for a development project in advance of completing and funding the project, in which case we are exposed to the risk of an increase in our cost of capital during the interim period leading up to the funding, which can reduce, eliminate or result in a negative spread between our cost of capital and the payments we expect to receive from the project. Furthermore, our acquisitions of new properties or companies will expose us to the liabilities of those properties or companies, some of which we may not be aware at the time of acquisition. In addition, development of our existing properties presents similar risks. If a development or acquisition is unsuccessful, either because it is not meeting our expectations or was not completed according to our plans, we could lose our investment in the development or acquisition.
Risks That May Affect the Market Price of Our Shares
We cannot assure you we will continue paying cash dividends at current rates.
Our dividend policy is determined by our Board of Trustees. Our ability to pay dividends on our common shares or to pay dividends on our preferred shares at their stated rates depends on a number of factors, including our liquidity, our financial condition and results of future operations, the performance of lease and mortgage terms by our tenants and customers, our ability to acquire, finance and lease additional properties at attractive rates, and provisions in our loan covenants.
The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted our compliance with financial covenants of our credit facility and other debt agreements. During 2020, we temporarily suspended our monthly cash dividend to common shareholders after the common share dividend payable May 15, 2020, and we are subject to restrictions on the payment of common share dividends during the Covenant Relief Period (except as may be necessary to maintain REIT status and to not owe income tax) under the amendments to our unsecured revolving credit facility, our unsecured term loan facility and the debt instruments governing certain of our private placement notes, as
described below under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". If we do not reinstate common share dividends in future periods or maintain or increase any future common share dividend rate, the market price of our common shares and possibly our preferred shares could be adversely affected. Furthermore, if the Board of Trustees decides to pay dividends on our common shares partially or substantially all in common shares, that could have an adverse effect on the market price of our common shares and possibly our preferred shares. There can be no assurances as to our ability to reinstitute cash dividend payments to common shareholders or the timing thereof or to continue paying dividends on our preferred shares.
Market interest rates may have an effect on the value of our shares.
One of the factors that investors may consider in deciding whether to buy or sell our common shares or preferred shares is our dividend rate as a percentage of our share price, relative to market interest rates. If market interest rates increase, prospective investors may desire a higher dividend rate on our common shares or seek securities paying higher dividends or interest.
Broad market fluctuations could negatively impact the market price of our shares.
The stock market has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that have affected the market price of the common equity of many companies, including companies in industries similar or related to ours. These broad market fluctuations could reduce the market price of our shares. Furthermore, our operating results and prospects may be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors or may be lower than those of companies with comparable market capitalizations. Either of these factors could lead to a material decline in the market price of our shares.
Market prices for our shares may be affected by perceptions about the financial health or share value of our tenants, mortgagors and managers or the performance of REIT stocks generally.
To the extent any of our tenants or customers, or their competition, report losses or slower earnings growth, take charges against earnings or enter bankruptcy proceedings, the market price for our shares could be adversely affected. The reduced economic activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting our tenants' businesses, financial condition and liquidity, which could adversely affect the market price for our shares. The market price for our shares could also be affected by any weakness in the performance of REIT stocks generally or weakness in any of the sectors in which our tenants and customers operate.
Limits on changes in control may discourage takeover attempts which may be beneficial to our shareholders.
There are a number of provisions in our Declaration of Trust and Bylaws and under Maryland law and agreements we have with others, any of which could make it more difficult for a party to make a tender offer for our shares or complete a takeover of the Company which is not approved by our Board of Trustees. These include:
•a limit on beneficial ownership of our shares, which acts as a defense against a hostile takeover or acquisition of a significant or controlling interest, in addition to preserving our REIT status;
•the ability of the Board of Trustees to issue preferred or common shares, to reclassify preferred or common shares, and to increase the amount of our authorized preferred or common shares, without shareholder approval;
•limits on the ability of shareholders to remove trustees without cause;
•requirements for advance notice of shareholder proposals at shareholder meetings;
•provisions of Maryland law restricting business combinations and control share acquisitions not approved by the Board of Trustees and unsolicited takeovers;
•provisions of Maryland law protecting corporations (and by extension REITs) against unsolicited takeovers by limiting the duties of the trustees in unsolicited takeover situations;
•provisions in Maryland law providing that the trustees are not subject to any higher duty or greater scrutiny than that applied to any other director under Maryland law in transactions relating to the acquisition or potential acquisition of control;
•provisions of Maryland law creating a statutory presumption that an act of the trustees satisfies the applicable standards of conduct for trustees under Maryland law;
•provisions in loan or joint venture agreements putting the Company in default upon a change in control; and
•provisions of our compensation arrangements with our employees calling for severance compensation and vesting of equity compensation upon termination of employment upon a change in control or certain events of the employees' termination of service.
Any or all of these provisions could delay or prevent a change in control of the Company, even if the change was in our shareholders' interest or offered a greater return to our shareholders.
We may change our policies without obtaining the approval of our shareholders.
Our operating and financial policies, including our policies with respect to acquiring or financing real estate or other companies, growth, operations, indebtedness, capitalization and dividends, are exclusively determined by our Board of Trustees. Accordingly, our shareholders do not control these policies.
Dilution could affect the value of our shares.
Our future growth will depend in part on our ability to raise additional capital. If we raise additional capital through the issuance of equity securities, the interests of holders of our common shares could be diluted. Likewise, our Board of Trustees is authorized to cause us to issue preferred shares in one or more series, the holders of which would be entitled to dividends and voting and other rights as our Board of Trustees determines, and which could be senior to or convertible into our common shares. Accordingly, an issuance by us of preferred shares could be dilutive to or otherwise adversely affect the interests of holders of our common shares. As of December 31, 2020, our Series C preferred shares are convertible, at each of the holder's option, into our common shares at a conversion rate of 0.4137 common shares per $25.00 liquidation preference, which is equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $60.43 per common share (subject to adjustment in certain events). Additionally, as of December 31, 2020, our Series E preferred shares are convertible, at each of the holder's option, into our common shares at a conversion rate of 0.4826 common shares per $25.00 liquidation preference, which is equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $51.80 per common share (subject to adjustment in certain events). Under certain circumstances in connection with a change in control of the Company, holders of our Series G preferred shares may elect to convert some or all of their Series G preferred shares into a number of our common shares per Series G preferred share equal to the lesser of (a) the $25.00 per share liquidation preference, plus accrued and unpaid dividends divided by the market value of our common shares or (b) 0.7389 shares. Depending upon the number of Series C, Series E and Series G preferred shares being converted at one time, a conversion of Series C, Series E and Series G preferred shares could be dilutive to or otherwise adversely affect the interests of holders of our common shares. In addition, we may issue a significant amount of equity securities in connection with acquisitions or investments, with or without seeking shareholder approval, which could result in significant dilution to our existing shareholders.
Future offerings of debt or equity securities, which may rank senior to our common shares, may adversely affect the market price of our common shares.
If we decide to issue debt securities in the future, which would rank senior to our common shares, it is likely that they will be governed by an indenture or other instrument containing covenants restricting our operating flexibility. Additionally, any equity securities or convertible or exchangeable securities that we issue in the future may have rights, preferences and privileges more favorable than those of our common shares and may result in dilution to owners of our common shares. We and, indirectly, our shareholders, will bear the cost of issuing and servicing such securities. Because our decision to issue debt or equity securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, holders of our common shares will bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common shares and diluting the value of their shareholdings in us.
Changes in foreign currency exchange rates may have an impact on the value of our shares.
The functional currency for our Canadian operations is the Canadian dollar. As a result, our future operating results could be affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate between U.S. and Canadian dollars, which in turn could affect our share price. We have attempted to mitigate our exposure to Canadian currency exchange risk by entering into foreign currency exchange contracts to hedge in part our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. Foreign currency derivatives are subject to future risk of loss. We do not engage in purchasing foreign exchange contracts for speculative purposes.
Additionally, we have made investments in China and may enter other international markets which pose similar currency fluctuation risks as described above.
We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could reduce the market price of our shares.
At any time, the U.S. federal income tax laws or regulations governing REITs or the administrative interpretations of those laws or regulations may be changed, possibly with retroactive effect. We cannot predict if or when any new U.S. federal income tax law, regulation or administrative interpretation, or any amendment to any existing U.S. federal income tax law, regulation or administrative interpretation, will be adopted, promulgated or become effective or whether any such law, regulation or interpretation may take effect retroactively. We and our shareholders could be adversely affected by any such change in, or any new, U.S. federal income tax law, regulation or administrative interpretation. Furthermore, any proposals seeking broader reform of U.S. federal income tax laws, if enacted, could change the federal income tax laws applicable to REITs, subject us to federal tax or reduce or eliminate the current deduction for dividends paid to our shareholders, any of which could negatively affect the market for our shares.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
There are no unresolved comments from the staff of the SEC required to be disclosed herein as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Item 2. Properties
As of December 31, 2020, our real estate portfolio consisted of investments in our Experiential and Education reportable segments. Except as otherwise noted, all of the real estate investments listed below are owned or ground leased directly by us.
The following table sets forth our owned properties (excludes properties under development, land held for development and properties securing our mortgage notes) listed by segment and property type, gross square footage (except for certain ski and attraction properties where such number is not meaningful), percentage leased and total rental revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 (dollars in thousands). At certain properties included below, we are the tenant under third-party ground leases and have assumed responsibility for performing the obligations thereunder. However, pursuant to the facility leases, the tenants are generally responsible for performing substantially all of our obligations under the ground leases.