UNITED STATES 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 001-37386
FORTRESS TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTORS LLC
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|1345 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor||New York||NY||10105|
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code) (212) 798-6100
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report) N/A
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class:||Trading Symbol:||Name of exchange on which registered:|
|Class A common shares, $0.01 par value per share||FTAI||New York Stock Exchange|
|8.25% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Series A Cumulative Perpetual Redeemable Preferred Shares||FTAI PR A||New York Stock Exchange|
|8.00% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Series B Cumulative Perpetual Redeemable Preferred Shares||FTAI PR B||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
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 Section 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
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 accounting 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 Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity of Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC held by non-affiliates as of the close of business as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $1.1 billion.
There were 85,623,740 common shares representing limited liability company interests outstanding at February 23, 2021.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement for the registrant's 2021 annual meeting, to be filed within 120 days after the close of the registrant's fiscal year, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
FORTRESS TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTORS LLC
INDEX TO FORM 10-K
Unresolved Staff Comments
Mine Safety Disclosures
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Selected Financial Data
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Consolidated Financial Statements of Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC:
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Consolidated Balance Sheets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019
Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive (Loss) Income for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018
Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
Note 1: Organization
Note 2: Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|Note 3: Discontinued Operations|
Note 4: Leasing Equipment, net
Note 5: Finance Leases, net
Note 6: Property, Plant and Equipment, net
Note 7: Investments
Note 8: Intangible Assets and Liabilities, net
Note 9: Debt, net
Note 10: Fair Value Measurements
|Note 11: Derivative Financial Instruments|
Note 12: Revenues
|Note 13: Leases|
Note 14: Equity-Based Compensation
Note 15: Income Taxes
Note 16: Management Agreement and Affiliate Transactions
Note 17: Segment Information
Note 18: Earnings per Share and Equity
Note 19: Commitments and Contingencies
Note 20: Quarterly Financial Information (Unaudited)
Note 21: Subsequent Events
Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Controls and Procedures
Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Form 10-K Summary
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND RISK FACTORS SUMMARY
This report contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical fact but instead are based on our present beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to us. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words. Any forward-looking statements contained in this report are based upon our historical performance and on our current plans, estimates and expectations in light of information currently available to us. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us, that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved.
Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, financial results, financial condition, business, prospects, growth strategy and liquidity. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. The following is a summary of the principal risk factors that make investing in our securities risky and may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. This summary should be read in conjunction with the more complete discussion of the risk factors we face, which are set forth in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this report. We believe that these factors include, but are not limited to:
•changes in economic conditions generally and specifically in our industry sectors, and other risks relating to the global economy, including, but not limited to, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises, and any related responses or actions by businesses and governments;
•reductions in cash flows received from our assets, as well as contractual limitations on the use of our aviation assets to secure debt for borrowed money;
•our ability to take advantage of acquisition opportunities at favorable prices;
•a lack of liquidity surrounding our assets, which could impede our ability to vary our portfolio in an appropriate manner;
•the relative spreads between the yield on the assets we acquire and the cost of financing;
•adverse changes in the financing markets we access affecting our ability to finance our acquisitions;
•customer defaults on their obligations;
•our ability to renew existing contracts and enter into new contracts with existing or potential customers;
•the availability and cost of capital for future acquisitions;
•concentration of a particular type of asset or in a particular sector;
•competition within the aviation, energy and intermodal transport sectors;
•the competitive market for acquisition opportunities;
•risks related to operating through joint ventures, partnerships, consortium arrangements or other collaborations with third parties;
•obsolescence of our assets or our ability to sell, re-lease or re-charter our assets;
•exposure to uninsurable losses and force majeure events;
•infrastructure operations and maintenance may require substantial capital expenditures;
•the legislative/regulatory environment and exposure to increased economic regulation;
•exposure to the oil and gas industry’s volatile oil and gas prices;
•difficulties in obtaining effective legal redress in jurisdictions in which we operate with less developed legal systems;
•our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the fact that maintaining such exemption imposes limits on our operations;
•our ability to successfully utilize leverage in connection with our investments;
•foreign currency risk and risk management activities;
•effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting;
•exposure to environmental risks, including natural disasters, increasing environmental legislation and the broader impacts of climate change;
•changes in interest rates and/or credit spreads, as well as the success of any hedging strategy we may undertake in relation to such changes;
•actions taken by national, state, or provincial governments, including nationalization, or the imposition of new taxes, could materially impact the financial performance or value of our assets;
•our dependence on our Manager and its professionals and actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager;
•effects of the merger of Fortress Investment Group LLC with affiliates of SoftBank Group Corp.;
•volatility in the market price of our shares;
•the inability to pay dividends to our shareholders in the future; and
•other risks described in the “Risk Factors” section of this report.
These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this report. The forward-looking statements made in this report relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement except as required by law, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from what we may have expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We caution that you should not place undue reliance on any of our forward-looking statements. Furthermore, new risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us.
Item 1. Business
Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, was formed on February 19, 2014. Except as otherwise specified, “FTAI”, “we”, “us”, “our”, or “the Company” refer to us and our consolidated subsidiaries, including Fortress Worldwide Transportation and Infrastructure General Partnership (“Holdco”). Our business has been, and will continue to be, conducted through Holdco for the purpose of acquiring, managing and disposing of transportation and transportation-related infrastructure and equipment assets. Fortress Worldwide Transportation and Infrastructure Master GP LLC (the “Master GP”), owns approximately 0.05% of Holdco and is the general partner of Holdco.
We are externally managed by FIG LLC (the “Manager”), an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC (“Fortress”), which has a dedicated team of experienced professionals focused on the acquisition of transportation and infrastructure assets since 2002. On December 27, 2017, SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) acquired Fortress (the “SoftBank Merger”). In connection with the SoftBank Merger, Fortress operates within SoftBank as an independent business headquartered in New York.
We own and acquire high quality infrastructure and related equipment that is essential for the transportation of goods and people globally. We target assets that, on a combined basis, generate strong cash flows with potential for earnings growth and asset appreciation. We believe that there are a large number of acquisition opportunities in our markets and that our Manager’s expertise and business and financing relationships, together with our access to capital, will allow us to take advantage of these opportunities. As of December 31, 2020, we had total consolidated assets of $3.4 billion and total equity of $1.1 billion.
Our operations consist of two primary strategic business units - Infrastructure and Equipment Leasing. Our Infrastructure Business acquires long-lived assets that provide mission-critical services or functions to transportation networks and typically have high barriers to entry. We target or develop operating businesses with strong margins, stable cash flows and upside from earnings growth and asset appreciation driven by increased use and inflation. Our Equipment Leasing Business acquires assets that are designed to carry cargo or people. Transportation equipment assets are typically long-lived, moveable and leased by us on either operating leases or finance leases to companies that provide transportation services. Our leases generally provide for long-term contractual cash flow with high cash-on-cash yields and include structural protections to mitigate credit risk.
The charts below illustrate our existing assets, and our equity deployed in acquiring these assets separated by reporting segment as of December 31, 2020:
•Jefferson Terminal and Ports and Terminals are included in our Infrastructure Business; Aviation Leasing is included in our Equipment Leasing Business.
We invest across a number of major sectors within the transportation industry, including aviation, energy, intermodal transport and ports and terminals, and we may pursue acquisitions in other areas as and when they arise in the future. In general, we seek to own a diverse mix of high-quality infrastructure and equipment within our target sectors that generate predictable cash flows in markets that we believe provide the potential for strong long-term growth and attractive returns on deployed capital. We believe that by investing in a diverse mix of assets across sectors, we can select from among the best risk-adjusted investment opportunities, while avoiding overconcentration in any one segment, further adding to the stability of our business.
We take a proactive investment approach by identifying key secular trends as they emerge within our target sectors and then pursuing what we believe are the most compelling opportunities within those sectors. We look for unique investments, including assets that are distressed or undervalued, or where we believe that we can add value through active management. We consider investments across the size spectrum, including smaller opportunities often overlooked by other investors, particularly where we believe we may be able to grow the investment over time. We believe one of our strengths is our ability to create attractive follow-on investment opportunities and deploy incremental capital within our existing portfolio.
Within each sector, we consider investments in operating infrastructure as well as in equipment that we lease to operators. We believe that as owners of both infrastructure and equipment assets, we have access to more opportunities and can be a more attractive counterparty to the users of our assets. Our Manager has significant prior experience in all of our target sectors, as well as a network of industry relationships, that we believe positions us well to make successful acquisitions and to actively manage and improve operations and cash flow of our existing and newly-acquired assets. These relationships include senior executives at lessors and operators, end users of transportation and infrastructure assets, as well as banks, lenders and other asset owners.
Asset Acquisition Process
Our strategy is to acquire assets that are essential to the transportation of goods and people globally. We acquire assets that are used by major operators of transportation and infrastructure networks. We seek to acquire assets and businesses that we believe operate in sectors with long-term macroeconomic growth opportunities and that have significant cash flow and upside potential from earnings growth and asset appreciation.
We approach markets and opportunities by first developing an asset acquisition strategy with our Manager and then pursuing optimal opportunities within that strategy. In addition to relying on our own experience, we source new opportunities through our Manager’s network of industry relationships in order to find, structure and execute attractive acquisitions. These relationships include senior executives at industry leading operators, end users of the assets as well as banks, lenders and other asset owners. We believe that sourcing assets both globally and through multiple channels will enable us to find the most attractive opportunities. We are selective in the assets we pursue and efficient in the manner in which we pursue them.
Once attractive opportunities are identified, our Manager performs detailed due diligence on each of our potential acquisitions. Due diligence on each of our assets always includes a comprehensive review of the asset itself as well as the industry and market dynamics, competitive positioning, and financial and operational performance. Where appropriate, our Manager conducts physical inspections, a review of the credit quality of each of our counterparties, the regulatory environment, and a review of all material documentation. In some cases, third-party specialists are hired to physically inspect and/or value the target assets.
We and our Manager also spend a significant amount of time on structuring our acquisitions to minimize risks while also optimizing expected returns. We employ what we believe to be reasonable amounts of leverage in connection with our acquisitions. In determining the amount of leverage for each acquisition, we consider a number of characteristics, including, but not limited to, the existing cash flow, the length of the lease or contract term, and the specific counterparty.
In May 2015, in connection with our initial public offering (“IPO”), we entered into a new management agreement with the Manager (the “Management Agreement”), an affiliate of Fortress, pursuant to which the Manager is paid annual fees in exchange for advising us on various aspects of our business, formulating our investment strategies, arranging for the acquisition and disposition of assets, arranging for financing, monitoring performance, and managing our day-to-day operations, inclusive of all costs incidental thereto.
Please refer to Note 16 of our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details regarding our Management Agreement.
We own and acquire high quality infrastructure and equipment that is essential for the transportation of goods and people globally. We currently invest across four market sectors: aviation, energy, intermodal transport and ports and terminals. We target assets that, on a combined basis, generate strong and stable cash flows with the potential for earnings growth and asset appreciation.
As of December 31, 2020, in our Aviation Leasing segment, we own and manage 264 aviation assets, consisting of 78 commercial aircraft and 186 engines.
As of December 31, 2020, 70 of our commercial aircraft and 111 of our engines were leased to operators or other third parties. Aviation assets currently off lease are either undergoing repair and/or maintenance, being prepared to go on lease or held in short term storage awaiting a future lease. Our aviation equipment was approximately 73% utilized during the three months ended December 31, 2020, based on the percent of days on-lease in the quarter weighted by the monthly average equity value of our aviation leasing equipment, excluding airframes. Our aircraft currently have a weighted average remaining lease term of 39 months, and our engines currently on-lease have an average remaining lease term of 22 months. The table below provides additional information on the assets in our Aviation Leasing segment:
|Assets at January 1, 2020||15 ||59 ||74 |
|Purchases||1 ||19 ||20 |
|Sales||— ||— ||— |
|Assets at December 31, 2020||15 ||63 ||78 |
|Assets at January 1, 2020||84 ||80 ||164 |
|Purchases||23 ||14 ||37 |
|Transfers||1 ||9 ||10 |
|Assets at December 31, 2020||88 ||98 ||186 |
In August 2014, we and certain other Fortress affiliates purchased substantially all of the assets and assumed certain liabilities of Jefferson Terminal (“Jefferson”), a Texas-based group of companies developing crude oil and refined products logistics assets. As of December 31, 2020, Jefferson is wholly owned by us and certain Fortress affiliates.
Jefferson Terminal is located on approximately 250 acres of land at the Port of Beaumont, Texas (the “Port”). Today, Jefferson leases 185 acres from the Port. As part of the lease, Jefferson was granted the concession to operate as the sole handler of liquid hydrocarbons at the Port. Jefferson does not own any land at Jefferson Terminal but does own certain equipment and leasehold improvements carried out as part of the Jefferson Terminal build-out.
Jefferson Terminal is developing a large multi-modal crude oil and refined products handling terminal at the Port, and also owns several other assets for the transportation and processing of crude oil and related products. Jefferson Terminal has a unique combination of direct rail service from three Class I railroads, multiple direct pipeline connections to a large local refinery, barge docks and deep water ship loading capacity, capabilities to handle multiple types of products including refined products and both free-flowing crude oil and bitumen, and a prime location close to Port Arthur and Lake Charles, which are home to refineries with over 2.3 million barrels per day of capacity. Jefferson Terminal currently has approximately 4.4(1) million barrels of storage tanks in operation. As we secure new storage/handling contracts, we expect to expand storage capacity and/or develop new assets. The timing of the ultimate development of Jefferson Terminal will be dependent, in part, on the pace at which contracts are executed as well as the amount of volume subject to such contracts.
Jefferson Terminal’s prime location and excellent optionality make it well suited to provide logistics solutions to regional and global refineries, including blending, storage and delivery of crude oil and refined products. Heavy crude oil from Western Canada is in high demand on the Gulf Coast because most refineries in the area are configured to handle heavier crudes (previously sourced predominately from Mexico and Venezuela) than those in other parts of the United States. Canadian conventionally produced heavy crude is well suited for transport by rail rather than pipeline because of its high viscosity. Jefferson Terminal is one of only a few terminals on the Gulf Coast that has heated unloading system capabilities to handle this type of heavy crude. As the production of Western Canadian crude oil grows in excess of existing pipeline capacity, demand for crude-by-rail to the Gulf Coast is expected to increase. Refined products opportunities for storage and logistics are expected to continue to be positively impacted by Mexico deregulating its imports of both gasoline and diesel.
Jefferson Terminal operates an unheated crude oil unloading system, which has the capacity to discharge a unit train of up to 114 cars, and a heated crude oil unloading system which has the capacity to unload a unit train of up to 128 cars of high viscosity crude oil. Jefferson Terminal has storage tanks with capacity to hold approximately 3.7(1) million barrels configured for crude oil in service.
Mexican demand for U.S.-sourced refined products continues to increase; however, Mexico lacks the infrastructure required to efficiently import, store and distribute large volumes of gasoline and diesel. This has spurred the rapid build-out of new Mexican transloading rail terminals, as well as storage capacity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. To meet such increased demand, Jefferson operates a refined products system which receives three grades of products by direct pipeline connection from a large area refiner, as well as inland tank barge via the barge dock, stores the cargo in six tanks with a combined capacity of approximately 0.7(1) million barrels, and operates a 20 spot rail car loading system with the capacity to load approximately 70,000 barrels per day. This system may be further expanded to meet additional market demand.
Recent expansion projects completed include the construction of a 25 MW substation to support the new pipeline construction, six 12” to 20” pipelines to a large area refinery for refined and crude product movements, and a rail expansion of approximately 19,570 feet of track. Two additional pipelines, one incoming from Cushing, Oklahoma, and one outgoing to a refinery in the Port Arthur area, are nearing completion and expected to be in service by the end of Q1 2021.
In addition to the Jefferson Terminal, Jefferson owns several other energy and transportation-related assets, including 299 tank railcars which are leased to third parties; a gas processing and condensate stabilization plant; pipeline rights-of-way; and a private inland marine terminal property all of which can be developed. These assets can be deployed or developed in the future to meet market demands for transportation and hydrocarbon processing, and if successfully deployed or developed, may represent additional opportunities to generate stable, recurring cash flow. As we secure customer contracts, we expect to invest equity capital to fund working capital needs and future construction, which may be required.
(1) All storage tank capacities refer to shell-tank capacity.
Long Ridge Energy Terminal
During 2017, through Ohio River Partners Shareholder LLC (“ORP”), a consolidated subsidiary, we purchased 100% of the interests in the assets of Long Ridge which consisted primarily of land, buildings, railroad track, docks, water rights, site improvements and other rights. In December 2019, ORP contributed its equity interests in Long Ridge into Long Ridge Terminal LLC and sold a 49.9% interest for $150 million in cash, plus an earn out. We no longer have a controlling interest in Long Ridge but still maintain significant influence through our retained interest and, therefore, now account for this investment in accordance with the equity method.
At December 31, 2020, Long Ridge continues its construction of a 485 MW combined-cycle power plant at the site, along with its associated plans to self-supply the natural gas fuel requirements for the plant. The construction project remains on-time and on-budget and is tracking ahead of its guaranteed completion date of November 2021. Long Ridge’s natural gas self-supply projects also remain on-time and on-budget.
During 2016, through Delaware River Partners LLC (“DRP”), a consolidated subsidiary, we purchased the assets of Repauno, which consisted primarily of land, a storage cavern, and riparian rights for the acquired land, site improvements and rights. We currently hold an approximately 98% economic interest, and a 100% voting interest in DRP. DRP is solely reliant on us to finance its activities and therefore is a variable interest entity (“VIE”). We concluded that we are the primary beneficiary and, accordingly, DRP has been presented on a consolidated basis in the accompanying financial statements.
Shortly after the end of 2020, DRP completed its new state of the art rail-to-ship transloading system. This will allow DRP to load Liquified Petroleum Gas marine vessels from its new wharf beginning in 2021. As the newest marine terminal on the Delaware River, Repauno is designed to safely and efficiently handle a wide variety of freight, providing critical logistics services to a multitude of industrial segments.
Corporate and Other
In addition to the above investments, our Corporate and Other segment includes (i) offshore energy related assets which consist of vessels and equipment that support offshore oil and gas activities and are typically subject to long-term operating leases, (ii) an investment in an unconsolidated entity engaged in the leasing of shipping containers and (iii) railroad assets retained after the December 2019 sale of our railroad business, which consist of equipment that support a railcar cleaning business.
Our Manager actively manages and monitors our portfolios of assets on an ongoing basis, and in some cases engages third parties to assist with the management of those assets. Our Manager frequently reviews the status of all of our assets, and in the case that any are returning from lease or undergoing repair, outlines our options, which may include the re-lease or sale of that asset. In the case of operating infrastructure, our Manager plays a central role in developing and executing operational, finance and business development strategies. On a periodic basis, our Manager discusses the status of our acquired assets with our board of directors.
In some situations, we may acquire assets through a joint venture entity or own a minority position in an investment entity. In such circumstances, we will seek to protect our interests through appropriate levels of board representation, minority protections and other structural enhancements.
We and our Manager maintain relationships with operators worldwide and, through these relationships, hold direct conversations as to leasing needs and opportunities. Where helpful, we reach out to third parties who assist in leasing our assets. As an example, we often partner with MRO facilities in the aviation sector to lease engines and support airlines’ fleet management needs.
While we expect to hold our assets for extended periods of time, we and our Manager continually review our assets to assess whether we should sell or otherwise monetize them. Aspects that will factor into this process include relevant market conditions, the asset’s age, lease profile, relative concentration or remaining expected useful life.
We and our Manager monitor the credit quality of our various lessees on an ongoing basis. This monitoring includes interacting with our customers regularly to monitor collections, review periodic financial statements and discuss their operating performance. Most of our lease agreements are written with conditions that require reporting on the part of our lessees, and we actively reach out to our lessees to maintain contact and monitor their liquidity positions. Furthermore, many of our leases and contractual arrangements include credit enhancement elements that provide us with additional collateral or credit support to strengthen our credit position.
We are subject to concentrations of credit risk with respect to amounts due from customers on our direct finance leases and operating leases. We attempt to limit credit risk by performing ongoing credit evaluations. See “Customers.”
Our customers consist of global operators of transportation and infrastructure networks, including airlines, offshore energy service providers, global energy providers and major shipping lines. We maintain ongoing relationships and discussions with our customers and seek to have consistent dialogue. In addition to helping us monitor the needs and quality of our customers, we believe these relationships help source additional opportunities and gain insight into attractive opportunities in the transportation and infrastructure sectors. A substantial portion of our revenue has historically been derived from a small number of customers. As of and for the year ended December 31, 2020, our largest customer accounted for 11% of our revenue and 40% of total accounts receivable, net. We derive a significant percentage of our revenue within specific sectors from a limited number of customers. However, we do not think that we are dependent upon any particular customer, or that the loss of one or more of them would have a material adverse effect on our business or the relevant segment, because of our ability to re-lease assets at similar terms following the loss of any such customer. See “Risk Factors-Contractual defaults may adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows by decreasing revenues and increasing storage, positioning, collection, recovery and lost equipment expenses.”
The business of acquiring, managing and marketing transportation and transportation-related infrastructure assets is highly competitive. Market competition for acquisition opportunities includes traditional transportation and infrastructure companies, commercial and investment banks, as well as a growing number of non-traditional participants, such as hedge funds, private equity funds, and other private investors.
Additionally, the markets for our products and services are competitive, and we face competition from a number of sources. These competitors include engine and aircraft parts manufacturers, aircraft and aircraft engine lessors, airline and aircraft services and repair companies, aircraft spare parts distributors, offshore services providers, maritime equipment lessors, shipping container lessors, container shipping lines, and other transportation and infrastructure equipment lessors and operators.
We compete with other market participants on the basis of industry knowledge, availability of capital, and deal structuring experience and flexibility, among other things. We believe our Manager’s experience in the transportation and the transportation-related infrastructure industry and our access to capital, in addition to our focus on diverse asset classes and customers, provides a competitive advantage versus competitors that maintain a single sector focus.
We are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment, including those governing the discharge of pollutants to air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, the cleanup of contaminated sites and noise and emission levels. Under some environmental laws in the United States and certain other countries, strict liability may be imposed on the owners or operators of assets, which could render us liable for environmental and natural resource damages without regard to negligence or fault on our part. We could incur substantial costs, including cleanup costs, fines and third-party claims for property or natural resource damage and personal injury, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations in connection with our or our lessee’s or charterer’s current or historical operations. While we typically maintain liability insurance coverage and typically require our lessees to provide us with indemnity against certain losses, the insurance coverage is subject to large deductibles, limits on maximum coverage and significant exclusions and may not be sufficient or available to protect against any or all liabilities and such indemnities may not cover or be sufficient to protect us against losses arising from environmental damage. In addition, changes to environmental standards or regulations in the industries in which we operate could limit the economic life of the assets we acquire or reduce their value, and also require us to make significant additional investments in order to maintain compliance.
Human Capital Management
Our Manager provides a management team and other professionals who are responsible for implementing our business strategy and performing certain services for us, subject to oversight by our board of directors. As a result, as of December 31, 2020, we have no employees other than 101 employees at certain subsidiaries across our business segments, none of whom are party to a collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good and we focus heavily on employee engagement. We have invested substantial time and resources in building our team, and our human capital management objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our existing and new employees. To facilitate attraction and retention, we strive to create a diverse, inclusive, and safe workplace, with opportunities for our employees to grow and develop in their careers, supported by strong compensation and benefits programs.
Our leases generally require that our customers carry physical damage and liability insurance providing primary insurance coverage for loss and damage to our assets as well as for related cargo and third parties while the assets are on lease. In addition, in certain cases, we maintain contingent liability coverage for any claims or losses on our assets while they are on hire or otherwise in the possession of a third-party. Finally, we procure insurance for our assets when they are not on hire or are otherwise under our control.
Conflicts of Interest
Although we have established certain policies and procedures designed to mitigate conflicts of interest, there can be no assurance that these policies and procedures will be effective in doing so. It is possible that actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could give rise to investor dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions.
One or more of our officers and directors have responsibilities and commitments to entities other than us. In addition, we do not have a policy that expressly prohibits our directors, officers, security holders or affiliates from engaging in business activities of the types conducted by us for their own account. See “Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Manager-There are conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager.”
Our key agreements, including our Management Agreement, the Partnership Agreement, and our operating agreement were negotiated among related parties, and their respective terms, including fees and other amounts payable, may not be as favorable to us as terms negotiated on an arm’s-length basis with unaffiliated parties. Our independent directors may not vigorously enforce the provisions of our Management Agreement against our Manager. For example, our independent directors may refrain from terminating our Manager because doing so could result in the loss of key personnel.
We may compete with entities affiliated with our Manager or Fortress for certain target assets. From time to time, affiliates of Fortress may focus on investments in assets with a similar profile as our target assets that we may seek to acquire. These affiliates may have meaningful purchasing capacity, which may change over time depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, available equity capital and debt financing, market conditions and cash on hand. Fortress has multiple existing and planned funds focused on investing in one or more of the sectors in which we acquire assets, each with significant current or expected capital commitments. We may co-invest with these funds in certain target assets. Fortress funds generally have a fee structure similar to ours, but the fees actually paid will vary depending on the size, terms and performance of each fund.
Our Manager may determine, in its discretion, to make a particular acquisition through an investment vehicle other than us. Investment allocation decisions will reflect a variety of factors, such as a particular vehicle’s availability of capital (including financing), investment objectives and concentration limits, legal, regulatory, tax and other similar considerations, the source of the opportunity and other factors that the Manager, in its discretion, deems appropriate. Our Manager does not have an obligation to offer us the opportunity to participate in any particular investment, even if it meets our asset acquisition objectives. In addition, employees of Fortress or certain of its affiliates—including personnel providing services to or on behalf of our Manager—may perform services for Fortress affiliates that may acquire or seek to acquire transportation and infrastructure-related assets.
Where Readers Can Find Additional Information
Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC is a Delaware limited liability company. Our principal executive offices are located at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10105. Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC files annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information required by the Exchange Act, with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public from the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov.
Our Internet site is http://www.ftandi.com. We will make available free of charge through our internet site our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed on behalf of directors and executive officers and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Also posted on our website in the ‘‘Investor Center - Corporate Governance’’ section are charters for our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Nominating Committee, as well as our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Ethics for our officers, and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics governing our directors, officers and employees. Information on, or accessible through, our website is not a part of, and is not incorporated into, this report.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
You should carefully consider the following risks and other information in this Form 10-K in evaluating us and our shares. Any of the following risks, as well as additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition. The risk factors generally have been separated into the following categories: risks related to our business, risks related to our Manager, risks related to taxation, risks related to our common shares and general risks. However, these categories do overlap and should not be considered exclusive.
Risks Related to Our Business
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the global economy and may have, and the emergence of similar crises could have, material adverse effects on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
In recent years, the outbreaks of certain highly contagious diseases have increased the risk of a pandemic resulting in economic disruptions. In particular, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to severe disruptions in the market and the global, U.S. and regional economies that may continue for a prolonged duration and trigger a recession or a period of economic slowdown. In response, various governmental bodies and private enterprises have implemented numerous measures to mitigate the outbreak, such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, shelter-in-place orders and shutdowns. The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be dynamic and evolving, and its ultimate scope, duration and effects remain uncertain.
We expect that this pandemic, and any future epidemic or pandemic crises, could result in direct and indirect adverse effects on our industry and customers, which in turn may impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. Effects of the current pandemic include, or may include, among others:
•deterioration of worldwide, regional or national economic conditions and activity, which could further reduce or prolong the recent significant declines in energy prices, or adversely affect global demand for crude oil and petroleum products, demand for our services, and time charter and spot rates;
•disruptions to our operations as a result of the potential health impact, such as the availability and efficacy of vaccines, on our employees and crew, and on the workforces of our customers and business partners;
•disruptions to our business from, or additional costs related to, new regulations, directives or practices implemented in response to the pandemic, such as travel restrictions, increased inspection regimes, hygiene measures (such as quarantining and physical distancing) or increased implementation of remote working arrangements;
•a lack of air travel demand or an inability of airlines to operate to or from certain regions could impact demand for air travel and the financial health of certain airlines, including our lessees;
•potential delays in the loading and discharging of cargo on or from our vessels, and any related off hire due to quarantines, worker health or regulations, which in turn could disrupt our operations and result in a reduction of revenue;
•potential shortages or a lack of access to required spare parts for our vessels, or potential delays in any repairs to, scheduled or unscheduled maintenance or modifications;
•potential delays in vessel inspections and related certifications by class societies, customers or government agencies;
•potential reduced cash flows and financial condition, including potential liquidity constraints;
•reduced access to capital, including the ability to refinance any existing obligations, as a result of any credit tightening generally or due to continued declines in global financial markets, including to the prices of publicly-traded securities of us, our peers and of listed companies generally; and
•potential deterioration in the financial condition and prospects of our customers, joint venture partners or business partners, or attempts by customers or third parties to invoke force majeure contractual clauses as a result of delays or other disruptions.
Although disruption and effects from the COVID-19 pandemic may be temporary, given the dynamic nature of these circumstances, the duration of any business disruption and the related financial impact to us is uncertain at this time and could
materially affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. The ongoing impact of COVID-19 also heightens many of the other risks described in this report, including those relating to our target returns, liquidity and asset values.
Uncertainty relating to macroeconomic conditions may reduce the demand for our assets, result in non-performance of contracts by our lessees or charterers, limit our ability to obtain additional capital to finance new investments, or have other unforeseen negative effects.
Uncertainty and negative trends in general economic conditions in the United States and abroad, including significant tightening of credit markets and commodity price volatility, historically have created difficult operating environments for owners and operators in the transportation industry. Many factors, including factors that are beyond our control, may impact our operating results or financial condition and/or affect the lessees and charterers that form our customer base. For some years, the world has experienced weakened economic conditions and volatility following adverse changes in global capital markets. Excess supply in oil and gas markets can put significant downward pressure on prices for these commodities, and may affect demand for assets used in production, refining and transportation of oil and gas. In the past, a significant decline in oil prices has led to lower offshore exploration and production budgets worldwide. These conditions have resulted in significant contraction, deleveraging and reduced liquidity in the credit markets. A number of governments have implemented, or are considering implementing, a broad variety of governmental actions or new regulations for the financial markets. In addition, limitations on the availability of capital, higher costs of capital for financing expenditures or the desire to preserve liquidity, may cause our current or prospective customers to make reductions in future capital budgets and spending.
Further, demand for our assets is related to passenger and cargo traffic growth, which in turn is dependent on general business and economic conditions. Global economic downturns could have an adverse impact on passenger and cargo traffic levels and consequently our lessees’ and charterers’ business, which may in turn result in a significant reduction in revenues, earnings and cash flows, difficulties accessing capital and a deterioration in the value of our assets. We may also become exposed to increased credit risk from our customers and third parties who have obligations to us, which could result in increased non-performance of contracts by our lessees or charterers and adversely impact our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The industries in which we operate have experienced periods of oversupply during which lease rates and asset values have declined, particularly during the most recent economic downturn, and any future oversupply could materially adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows.
The oversupply of a specific asset is likely to depress the lease or charter rates for and the value of that type of asset and result in decreased utilization of our assets, and the industries in which we operate have experienced periods of oversupply during which rates and asset values have declined, particularly during the most recent economic downturn. Factors that could lead to such oversupply include, without limitation:
•general demand for the type of assets that we purchase;
•general macroeconomic conditions, including market prices for commodities that our assets may serve;
•geopolitical events, including war, prolonged armed conflict and acts of terrorism;
•outbreaks of communicable diseases and natural disasters;
•the availability of credit;
•restructurings and bankruptcies of companies in the industries in which we operate, including our customers;
•manufacturer production levels and technological innovation;
•manufacturers merging or exiting the industry or ceasing to produce certain asset types;
•retirement and obsolescence of the assets that we own;
•increases in supply levels of assets in the market due to the sale or merging of operating lessors; and
•reintroduction of previously unused or dormant assets into the industries in which we operate.
These and other related factors are generally outside of our control and could lead to persistence of, or increase in, the oversupply of the types of assets that we acquire or decreased utilization of our assets, either of which could materially adversely affect our results of operations and cash flow. In addition, lessees may redeliver our assets to locations where there is oversupply, which may lead to additional repositioning costs for us if we move them to areas with higher demand. Positioning expenses vary depending on geographic location, distance, freight rates and other factors, and may not be fully covered by drop-off charges collected from the last lessees of the equipment or pick-up charges paid by the new lessees. Positioning expenses can be significant if a large portion of our assets are returned to locations with weak demand, which could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
There can be no assurance that any target returns will be achieved.
Our target returns for assets are targets only and are not forecasts of future profits. We develop target returns based on our Manager’s assessment of appropriate expectations for returns on assets and the ability of our Manager to enhance the return generated by those assets through active management. There can be no assurance that these assessments and expectations will be achieved and failure to achieve any or all of them may materially adversely impact our ability to achieve any target return with respect to any or all of our assets.
In addition, our target returns are based on estimates and assumptions regarding a number of other factors, including, without limitation, holding periods, the absence of material adverse events affecting specific investments (which could include, without limitation, natural disasters, terrorism, social unrest or civil disturbances), general and local economic and market conditions, changes in law, taxation, regulation or governmental policies and changes in the political approach to transportation investment, either generally or in specific countries in which we may invest or seek to invest. Many of these factors, as well as the other risks described elsewhere in this report, are beyond our control and all could adversely affect our ability to achieve a target return with respect to an asset. Further, target returns are targets for the return generated by specific assets and not by us. Numerous factors could prevent us from achieving similar returns, notwithstanding the performance of individual assets, including, without limitation, taxation and fees payable by us or our operating subsidiaries, including fees and incentive allocation payable to our Manager.
There can be no assurance that the returns generated by any of our assets will meet our target returns, or any other level of return, or that we will achieve or successfully implement our asset acquisition objectives, and failure to achieve the target return in respect of any of our assets could, among other things, have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow. Further, even if the returns generated by individual assets meet target returns, there can be no assurance that the returns generated by other existing or future assets would do so, and the historical performance of the assets in our existing portfolio should not be considered as indicative of future results with respect to any assets.
Contractual defaults may adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows by decreasing revenues and increasing storage, positioning, collection, recovery and lost equipment expenses.
The success of our business depends in large part on the success of the operators in the sectors in which we participate. Cash flows from our assets are substantially impacted by our ability to collect compensation and other amounts to be paid in respect of such assets from the customers with whom we enter into leases, charters or other contractual arrangements. Inherent in the nature of the leases, charters and other arrangements for the use of such assets is the risk that we may not receive, or may experience delay in realizing, such amounts to be paid. While we target the entry into contracts with credit-worthy counterparties, no assurance can be given that such counterparties will perform their obligations during the term of the leases, charters or other contractual arrangements. In addition, when counterparties default, we may fail to recover all of our assets, and the assets we do recover may be returned in damaged condition or to locations where we will not be able to efficiently lease, charter or sell them. In most cases, we maintain, or require our lessees to maintain, certain insurances to cover the risk of damages or loss of our assets. However, these insurance policies may not be sufficient to protect us against a loss.
Depending on the specific sector, the risk of contractual defaults may be elevated due to excess capacity as a result of oversupply during the most recent economic downturn. We lease assets to our customers pursuant to fixed-price contracts, and our customers then seek to utilize those assets to transport goods and provide services. If the price at which our customers receive for their transportation services decreases as a result of an oversupply in the marketplace, then our customers may be forced to reduce their prices in order to attract business (which may have an adverse effect on their ability to meet their contractual lease obligations to us), or may seek to renegotiate or terminate their contractual lease arrangements with us to pursue a lower-priced opportunity with another lessor, which may have a direct, adverse effect on us. See “-The industries in which we operate have experienced periods of oversupply during which lease rates and asset values have declined, particularly during the most recent economic downturn, and any future oversupply could materially adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows.” Any default by a material customer would have a significant impact on our profitability at the time the customer defaulted, which could materially adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects. In addition, some of our counterparties may reside in jurisdictions with legal and regulatory regimes that make it difficult and costly to enforce such counterparties’ obligations.
If we acquire a high concentration of a particular type of asset, or concentrate our investments in a particular sector, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected by changes in market demand or problems specific to that asset or sector.
If we acquire a high concentration of a particular asset, or concentrate our investments in a particular sector, our business and financial results could be adversely affected by sector-specific or asset-specific factors. For example, if a particular sector experiences difficulties such as increased competition or oversupply, the operators we rely on as a lessor may be adversely affected and consequently our business and financial results may be similarly affected. If we acquire a high concentration of a particular asset and the market demand for a particular asset declines, it is redesigned or replaced by its manufacturer or it experiences design or technical problems, the value and rates relating to such asset may decline, and we may be unable to lease or charter such asset on favorable terms, if at all. Any decrease in the value and rates of our assets may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We operate in highly competitive markets.
The business of acquiring transportation and transportation-related infrastructure assets is highly competitive. Market competition for opportunities includes traditional transportation and infrastructure companies, commercial and investment banks, as well as a growing number of non-traditional participants, such as hedge funds, private equity funds and other private investors, including Fortress-related entities. Some of these competitors may have access to greater amounts of capital and/or to capital that may be committed for longer periods of time or may have different return thresholds than us, and thus these competitors may have certain advantages not shared by us. In addition, competitors may have incurred, or may in the future incur, leverage to finance their debt investments at levels or on terms more favorable than those available to us. Strong competition for investment opportunities could result in fewer such opportunities for us, as certain of these competitors have established and are establishing investment vehicles that target the same types of assets that we intend to purchase.
In addition, some of our competitors may have longer operating histories, greater financial resources and lower costs of capital than us, and consequently, may be able to compete more effectively in one or more of our target markets. We likely will not always be able to compete successfully with our competitors and competitive pressures or other factors may also result in significant price competition, particularly during industry downturns, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Certain liens may arise on our assets.
Certain of our assets are currently subject to liens under separate financing arrangements entered into by certain subsidiaries in connection with acquisitions of assets. In the event of a default under such arrangements by the applicable subsidiary, the lenders thereunder would be permitted to take possession of or sell such assets. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Liquidity and Capital Resources.” In addition, our currently owned assets and assets that we purchase in the future may be subject to other liens based on the industry practices relating to such assets. Until they are discharged, these liens could impair our ability to repossess, re-lease or sell our assets, and to the extent our lessees or charterers do not comply with their obligations to discharge any liens on the applicable assets, we may find it necessary to pay the claims secured by such liens in order to repossess such assets. Such payments could materially adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.
The values of our assets may fluctuate due to various factors.
The fair market values of our assets may decrease or increase depending on a number of factors, including the prevailing level of charter or lease rates from time to time, general economic and market conditions affecting our target markets, type and age of assets, supply and demand for assets, competition, new governmental or other regulations and technological advances, all of which could impact our profitability and our ability to lease, charter, develop, operate, or sell such assets. In addition, our assets depreciate as they age and may generate lower revenues and cash flows. We must be able to replace such older, depreciated assets with newer assets, or our ability to maintain or increase our revenues and cash flows will decline. In addition, if we dispose of an asset for a price that is less than the depreciated book value of the asset on our balance sheet or if we determine that an asset’s value has been impaired, we will recognize a related charge in our consolidated statement of operations and such charge could be material.
We may not generate a sufficient amount of cash or generate sufficient free cash flow to fund our operations or repay our indebtedness.
Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness as required depends on our ability to generate cash flow in the future. This ability, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If we do not generate sufficient free cash flow to satisfy our debt obligations, including interest payments and the payment of principal at maturity, we may have to undertake alternative financing plans, such as refinancing or restructuring our debt, selling assets, reducing or delaying capital investments or seeking to raise additional capital. We cannot provide assurance that any refinancing would be possible, that any assets could be sold, or, if sold, of the timeliness and amount of proceeds realized from those sales, that additional financing could be obtained on acceptable terms, if at all, or that additional financing would be permitted under the terms of our various debt instruments then in effect. Furthermore, our ability to refinance would depend upon the condition of the finance and credit markets. Our inability to generate sufficient free cash flow to satisfy our debt obligations, or to refinance our obligations on commercially reasonable terms or on a timely basis, would materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may acquire operating businesses, including businesses whose operations are not fully matured and stabilized. These businesses may be subject to significant operating and development risks, including increased competition, cost overruns and delays, and difficulties in obtaining approvals or financing. These factors could materially affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.
We have acquired, and may in the future acquire, operating businesses, including businesses whose operations are not fully matured and stabilized (including, but not limited to, our businesses within the Jefferson Terminal and Ports and Terminals segments). While we have deep experience in the construction and operation of these companies, we are nevertheless subject to significant risks and contingencies of an operating business, and these risks are greater where the operations of such businesses are not fully matured and stabilized. Key factors that may affect our operating businesses include, but are not limited to:
•competition from market participants;
•general economic and/or industry trends, including pricing for the products or services offered by our operating businesses;
•the issuance and/or continued availability of necessary permits, licenses, approvals and agreements from governmental agencies and third parties as are required to construct and operate such businesses;
•changes or deficiencies in the design or construction of development projects;
•unforeseen engineering, environmental or geological problems;
•potential increases in construction and operating costs due to changes in the cost and availability of fuel, power, materials and supplies;
•the availability and cost of skilled labor and equipment;
•our ability to enter into additional satisfactory agreements with contractors and to maintain good relationships with these contractors in order to construct development projects within our expected cost parameters and time frame, and the ability of those contractors to perform their obligations under the contracts and to maintain their creditworthiness;
•potential liability for injury or casualty losses which are not covered by insurance;
•potential opposition from non-governmental organizations, environmental groups, local or other groups which may delay or prevent development activities;
•local and economic conditions;
•changes in legal requirements; and
•force majeure events, including catastrophes and adverse weather conditions.
Any of these factors could materially affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.
Our use of joint ventures or partnerships, and our Manager’s outsourcing of certain functions, may present unforeseen obstacles or costs.
We have acquired and may in the future acquire interests in certain assets in cooperation with third-party partners or co-investors through jointly-owned acquisition vehicles, joint ventures or other structures. In these co-investment situations, our ability to control the management of such assets depends upon the nature and terms of the joint arrangements with such partners and our relative ownership stake in the asset, each of which will be determined by negotiation at the time of the investment and the determination of which is subject to the discretion of our Manager. Depending on our Manager’s perception of the relative risks and rewards of a particular asset, our Manager may elect to acquire interests in structures that afford relatively little or no operational and/or management control to us. Such arrangements present risks not present with wholly-owned assets, such as the possibility that a co-investor becomes bankrupt, develops business interests or goals that conflict with our interests and goals in respect of the assets, all of which could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
In addition, our Manager expects to utilize third-party contractors to perform services and functions related to the operation and leasing of our assets. These functions may include billing, collections, recovery and asset monitoring. Because we and our Manager do not directly control these third parties, there can be no assurance that the services they provide will be delivered at a level commensurate with our expectations, or at all. The failure of any such third-party contractors to perform in accordance with our expectations could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to the risks and costs of obsolescence of our assets.
Technological and other improvements expose us to the risk that certain of our assets may become technologically or commercially obsolete. For example, in our Aviation Leasing segment, as manufacturers introduce technological innovations and new types of aircraft, some of our assets could become less desirable to potential lessees. Such technological innovations may increase the rate of obsolescence of existing aircraft faster than currently anticipated by us. In addition, the imposition of increased regulation regarding stringent noise or emissions restrictions may make some of our aircraft less desirable and less valuable in the marketplace. In our offshore energy business, development and construction of new, sophisticated, high-specification assets could cause our assets to become less desirable to potential charterers, and insurance rates may also increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to potential charterers. Any of these risks may adversely affect our ability to lease, charter or sell our assets on favorable terms, if at all, which could materially adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.
The North American rail sector is a highly regulated industry and increased costs of compliance with, or liability for violation of, existing or future laws, regulations and other requirements could significantly increase our operational costs of doing business, thereby adversely affecting our profitability.
The rail sector is subject to extensive laws, regulations and other requirements including, but not limited to, those relating to the environment, safety, rates and charges, service obligations, employment, labor, immigration, minimum wages and overtime pay, health care and benefits, working conditions, public accessibility and other requirements. These laws and regulations are enforced by U.S. federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), as well as numerous other state, provincial, local and federal agencies. Ongoing compliance with, or
a violation of, these laws, regulations and other requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We believe that our rail operations are in substantial compliance with applicable laws and regulations. However, these laws and regulations, and the interpretation or enforcement thereof, are subject to frequent change and varying interpretation by regulatory authorities, and we are unable to predict the ongoing cost to us of complying with these laws and regulations or the future impact of these laws and regulations on our operations. In addition, from time to time we are subject to inspections and investigations by various regulators. Violation of environmental or other laws, regulations and permits can result in the imposition of significant administrative, civil and criminal penalties, injunctions and construction bans or delays.
Legislation passed by the U.S. Congress or Canadian Parliament or new regulations issued by federal agencies can significantly affect the revenues, costs and profitability of our business. For instance, more recently proposed bills such as the “Rail Shipper Fairness Act of 2017,” or competitive access proposals under consideration by the STB, if adopted, could increase government involvement in railroad pricing, service and operations and significantly change the federal regulatory framework of the railroad industry. Several of the changes under consideration could have a significant negative impact on the Company’s ability to determine prices for rail services, meet service standards and could force a reduction in capital spending. Statutes imposing price constraints or affecting rail-to-rail competition could adversely affect the Company’s profitability.
Under various U.S. and Canadian federal, state, provincial and local environmental requirements, as the owner or operator of terminals or other facilities, we may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of contamination at or from our existing locations, whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of such contamination. The failure to timely report and properly remediate contamination may subject us to liability to third parties and may adversely affect our ability to sell or rent our property or to borrow money using our property as collateral. Additionally, we may be liable for the costs of remediating third-party sites where hazardous substances from our operations have been transported for treatment or disposal, regardless of whether we own or operate that site. In the future, we may incur substantial expenditures for investigation or remediation of contamination that has not yet been discovered at our current or former locations or locations that we may acquire.
A discharge of hydrocarbons or hazardous substances into the environment associated with operating our rail assets could subject us to substantial expense, including the cost to recover the materials spilled, restore the affected natural resources, pay fines and penalties, and natural resource damages and claims made by employees, neighboring landowners, government authorities and other third parties, including for personal injury and property damage. We may experience future catastrophic sudden or gradual releases into the environment from our facilities or discover historical releases that were previously unidentified or not assessed. Although our inspection and testing programs are designed to prevent, detect and address any such releases promptly, the liabilities incurred due to any future releases into the environment from our assets, have the potential to substantially affect our business. Such events could also subject us to media and public scrutiny that could have a negative effect on our operations and also on the value of our common shares.
Our business could be adversely affected if service on the railroads is interrupted or if more stringent regulations are adopted regarding railcar design or the transportation of crude oil by rail.
As a result of hydraulic fracturing and other improvements in extraction technologies, there has been a substantial increase in the volume of crude oil and liquid hydrocarbons produced and transported in North America, and a geographic shift in that production versus historical production. The increase in volume and shift in geography has resulted in increased pipeline congestion and a corresponding growth in crude oil being transported by rail from Canada and across the U.S. High-profile accidents involving crude-oil-carrying trains in Quebec, North Dakota and Virginia, and more recently in Saskatchewan, West Virginia and Illinois, have raised concerns about derailments and the environmental and safety risks associated with crude oil transport by rail and the associated risks arising from railcar design. In Canada, the transport of hazardous products is receiving greater scrutiny which could impact our customers and our business.
In May 2015, the DOT issued new production standards and operational controls for rail tank cars used in “High-Hazard Flammable Trains” (i.e., trains carrying commodities such as ethanol, crude oil and other flammable liquids). Similar standards have been adopted in Canada. The new standard applies for all cars manufactured after October 1, 2015, and existing tank cars must be retrofitted within the next three to eight years. The applicable operational controls include reduced speed restrictions, and maximum lengths on trains carrying these materials. Retrofitting our tank cars will be required under these new standards to the extent we elect to move certain flammable liquids in the future. While we may be able to pass some of these costs on to our customers, there may be costs that we cannot pass on to them. We continue to monitor the railcar regulatory landscape and remain in close contact with railcar suppliers and other industry stakeholders to stay informed of railcar regulation rulemaking developments. It is unclear how these regulations will impact the crude-by-rail industry, and any such impact would depend on a number of factors that are outside of our control. If, for example, overall volume of crude-by-rail decreases, or if we do not have access to a sufficient number of compliant cars to transport required volumes under our existing contracts, our operations may be negatively affected. This may lead to a decrease in revenues and other consequences.
The adoption of additional federal, state, provincial or local laws or regulations, including any voluntary measures by the rail industry regarding railcar design or crude oil and liquid hydrocarbon rail transport activities, or efforts by local communities to restrict or limit rail traffic involving crude oil, could affect our business by increasing compliance costs and decreasing demand for our services, which could adversely affect our financial position and cash flows. Moreover, any disruptions in the operations of railroads, including those due to shortages of railcars, weather-related problems, flooding, drought, accidents, mechanical
difficulties, strikes, lockouts or bottlenecks, could adversely impact our customers’ ability to move their product and, as a result, could affect our business.
Our assets are exposed to unplanned interruptions caused by catastrophic events outside of our control which may disrupt our business and cause damage or losses that may not be adequately covered by insurance.
The operations of transportation and infrastructure projects are exposed to unplanned interruptions caused by significant catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, floods, explosions, fires, derailments, major plant breakdowns, pipeline or electricity line ruptures or other disasters. Operational disruption, as well as supply disruption, and increased government oversight could adversely impact the cash flows available from these assets. In addition, the cost of repairing or replacing damaged assets could be considerable. Repeated or prolonged interruption may result in temporary or permanent loss of customers, substantial litigation or penalties for regulatory or contractual non-compliance, and any loss from such events may not be recoverable under relevant insurance policies. Although we believe that we are adequately insured against these types of events, either indirectly through our lessees or charterers or through our own insurance policies, no assurance can be given that the occurrence of any such event will not materially adversely affect us. In addition, if a lessee or charterer is not obligated to maintain sufficient insurance, we may incur the costs of additional insurance coverage during the related lease or charter. We can give no assurance that such insurance will be available at commercially reasonable rates, if at all.
Our assets generally require routine maintenance, and we may be exposed to unforeseen maintenance costs.
We may be exposed to unforeseen maintenance costs for our assets associated with a lessee’s or charterer’s failure to properly maintain the asset. We enter into leases and charters with respect to some of our assets pursuant to which the lessees are primarily responsible for many obligations, which generally include complying with all governmental requirements applicable to the lessee or charterer, including operational, maintenance, government agency oversight, registration requirements and other applicable directives. Failure of a lessee or charterer to perform required maintenance during the term of a lease or charter could result in a decrease in value of an asset, an inability to re-lease or charter an asset at favorable rates, if at all, or a potential inability to utilize an asset. Maintenance failures would also likely require us to incur maintenance and modification costs upon the termination of the applicable lease or charter; such costs to restore the asset to an acceptable condition prior to re-leasing, charter or sale could be substantial. Any failure by our lessees or charterers to meet their obligations to perform required scheduled maintenance or our inability to maintain our assets could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Some of our customers operate in highly regulated industries and changes in laws or regulations, including laws with respect to international trade, may adversely affect our ability to lease, charter or sell our assets.
Some of our customers operate in highly regulated industries such as aviation and offshore energy. A number of our contractual arrangements-for example, our leasing aircraft engines or offshore energy equipment to third-party operators-require the operator (our customer) to obtain specific governmental or regulatory licenses, consents or approvals. These include consents for certain payments under such arrangements and for the export, import or re-export of the related assets. Failure by our customers or, in certain circumstances, by us, to obtain certain licenses and approvals could negatively affect our ability to conduct our business. In addition, the shipment of goods, services and technology across international borders subjects the operation of our assets to international trade laws and regulations. Moreover, many countries, including the United States, control the export and re-export of certain goods, services and technology and impose related export recordkeeping and reporting obligations. Governments also may impose economic sanctions against certain countries, persons and other entities that may restrict or prohibit transactions involving such countries, persons and entities. If any such regulations or sanctions affect the asset operators that are our customers, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
Certain of our assets are subject to purchase options held by the charterer or lessee of the asset which, if exercised, could reduce the size of our asset base and our future revenues.
We have granted purchase options to the charterers and lessees of certain of our assets. The market values of these assets may change from time to time depending on a number of factors, such as general economic and market conditions affecting the industries in which we operate, competition, cost of construction, governmental or other regulations, technological changes and prevailing levels of charter or lease rates from time to time. The purchase price under a purchase option may be less than the asset’s market value at the time the option may be exercised. In addition, we may not be able to obtain a replacement asset for the price at which the asset is sold. In such cases, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
The profitability of our offshore energy assets may be impacted by the profitability of the offshore oil and gas industry generally, which is significantly affected by, among other things, volatile oil and gas prices.
Demand for assets in the offshore energy business and our ability to secure charter contracts for our assets at favorable charter rates following expiry or termination of existing charters will depend, among other things, on the level of activity in the offshore oil and gas industry. The offshore oil and gas industry is cyclical and volatile, and demand for oil-service assets depends on, among other things, the level of development and activity in oil and gas exploration, as well as the identification and development of oil and gas reserves and production in offshore areas worldwide. The availability of high quality oil and gas prospects, exploration success, relative production costs, the stage of reservoir development, political concerns and regulatory requirements all affect the level of activity for charterers of oil-service vessels. Accordingly, oil and gas prices and market expectations of potential changes in these prices significantly affect the level of activity and demand for oil-service assets. Oil and gas prices can be extremely volatile and are affected by numerous factors beyond our control, such as: worldwide demand for oil and gas; costs of exploring, developing, producing and delivering oil and gas; expectations regarding future energy prices; the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) to set and maintain production levels and impact pricing; the level of production in non-OPEC countries; governmental regulations and policies regarding development of oil and gas reserves; local and international political, economic and weather conditions; domestic and foreign tax or trade policies; political and military conflicts in oil-producing and other countries; and the development and exploration of alternative fuels. Any reduction in the demand for our assets due to these or other factors could materially adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.
We may not be able to renew or obtain new or favorable charters or leases, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operating leases are subject to greater residual risk than direct finance leases because we will own the assets at the expiration of an operating lease term and we may be unable to renew existing charters or leases at favorable rates, or at all, or sell the leased or chartered assets, and the residual value of the asset may be lower than anticipated. In addition, our ability to renew existing charters or leases or obtain new charters or leases will also depend on prevailing market conditions, and upon expiration of the contracts governing the leasing or charter of the applicable assets, we may be exposed to increased volatility in terms of rates and contract provisions. For example, we do not currently have long-term charters for our construction support vessel and our ROV support vessel. Likewise, our customers may reduce their activity levels or seek to terminate or renegotiate their charters or leases with us. If we are not able to renew or obtain new charters or leases in direct continuation, or if new charters or leases are entered into at rates substantially below the existing rates or on terms otherwise less favorable compared to existing contractual terms, or if we are unable to sell assets for which we are unable to obtain new contracts or leases, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially adversely affected.
Litigation to enforce our contracts and recover our assets has inherent uncertainties that are increased by the location of our assets in jurisdictions that have less developed legal systems.
While some of our contractual arrangements are governed by New York law and provide for the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located in the state of New York, our ability to enforce our counterparties’ obligations under such contractual arrangements is subject to applicable laws in the jurisdiction in which enforcement is sought. While some of our existing assets are used in specific jurisdictions, transportation and transportation-related infrastructure assets by their nature generally move throughout multiple jurisdictions in the ordinary course of business. As a result, it is not possible to predict, with any degree of certainty, the jurisdictions in which enforcement proceedings may be commenced. Litigation and enforcement proceedings have inherent uncertainties in any jurisdiction and are expensive. These uncertainties are enhanced in countries that have less developed legal systems where the interpretation of laws and regulations is not consistent, may be influenced by factors other than legal merits and may be cumbersome, time-consuming and even more expensive. For example, repossession from defaulting lessees may be difficult and more expensive in jurisdictions whose laws do not confer the same security interests and rights to creditors and lessors as those in the United States and where the legal system is not as well developed. As a result, the remedies available and the relative success and expedience of collection and enforcement proceedings with respect to the owned assets in various jurisdictions cannot be predicted. To the extent more of our business shifts to areas outside of the United States and Europe, such as Asia and the Middle East, it may become more difficult and expensive to enforce our rights and recover our assets.
Our international operations involve additional risks, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We and our customers operate in various regions throughout the world. As a result, we may, directly or indirectly, be exposed to political and other uncertainties, including risks of:
•terrorist acts, armed hostilities, war and civil disturbances;
•acts of piracy;
•potential cybersecurity attacks;
•significant governmental influence over many aspects of local economies;
•seizure, nationalization or expropriation of property or equipment;
•repudiation, nullification, modification or renegotiation of contracts;
•limitations on insurance coverage, such as war risk coverage, in certain areas;
•foreign and U.S. monetary policy and foreign currency fluctuations and devaluations;
•the inability to repatriate income or capital;
•complications associated with repairing and replacing equipment in remote locations;
•import-export quotas, wage and price controls, imposition of trade barriers;
•U.S. and foreign sanctions or trade embargoes;
•restrictions on the transfer of funds into or out of countries in which we operate;
•compliance with U.S. Treasury sanctions regulations restricting doing business with certain nations or specially designated nationals;
•regulatory or financial requirements to comply with foreign bureaucratic actions;
•compliance with applicable anti-corruption laws and regulations;
•changing taxation policies, including confiscatory taxation;
•other forms of government regulation and economic conditions that are beyond our control; and
Any of these or other risks could adversely impact our customers’ international operations which could materially adversely impact our operating results and growth opportunities.
We may make acquisitions in emerging markets throughout the world, and investments in emerging markets are subject to greater risks than developed markets and could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
To the extent that we acquire assets in emerging markets-which we may do throughout the world-additional risks may be encountered that could adversely affect our business. Emerging market countries have less developed economies and infrastructure and are often more vulnerable to economic and geopolitical challenges and may experience significant fluctuations in gross domestic product, interest rates and currency exchange rates, as well as civil disturbances, government instability, nationalization and expropriation of private assets and the imposition of taxes or other charges by government authorities. In addition, the currencies in which investments are denominated may be unstable, may be subject to significant depreciation and may not be freely convertible or may be subject to the imposition of other monetary or fiscal controls and restrictions.
Emerging markets are still in relatively early stages of their development and accordingly may not be highly or efficiently regulated. Moreover, emerging markets tend to be shallower and less liquid than more established markets which may adversely affect our ability to realize profits from our assets in emerging markets when we desire to do so or receive what we perceive to be their fair value in the event of a realization. In some cases, a market for realizing profits from an investment may not exist locally. In addition, issuers based in emerging markets are not generally subject to uniform accounting and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to issuers based in more developed countries, thereby potentially increasing the risk of fraud and other deceptive practices. Settlement of transactions may be subject to greater delay and administrative uncertainties than in developed markets and less complete and reliable financial and other information may be available to investors in emerging markets than in developed markets. In addition, economic instability in emerging markets could adversely affect the value of our assets subject to leases or charters in such countries, or the ability of our lessees or charters, which operate in these markets, to meet their contractual obligations. As a result, lessees or charterers that operate in emerging market countries may be more likely to default under their contractual obligations than those that operate in developed countries. Liquidity and volatility limitations in these markets may also adversely affect our ability to dispose of our assets at the best price available or in a timely manner.
As we have and may continue to acquire assets located in emerging markets throughout the world, we may be exposed to any one or a combination of these risks, which could adversely affect our operating results.
We are actively evaluating potential acquisitions of assets and operating companies in other transportation and infrastructure sectors which could result in additional risks and uncertainties for our business and unexpected regulatory compliance costs.
While our existing portfolio consists of assets in the aviation, energy, intermodal transport and rail sectors, we are actively evaluating potential acquisitions of assets and operating companies in other sectors of the transportation and transportation-related infrastructure and equipment markets and we plan to be flexible as other attractive opportunities arise over time. To the extent we make acquisitions in other sectors, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with the required investment of capital and other resources and with combining or integrating operational and management systems and controls. Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. Many types of transportation assets, including certain rail, airport and seaport assets, are subject to registration requirements by U.S. governmental agencies, as well as foreign governments if such assets are to be used outside of the United States. Failing to register the assets, or losing such registration, could result in substantial penalties, forced liquidation of the assets and/or the inability to operate and, if applicable, lease the assets. We may need to incur significant costs to comply with the laws and regulations applicable to any such new acquisition. The failure to comply with these laws and regulations could cause us to incur significant costs, fines or penalties or require the assets to be removed from service for a period of time resulting in reduced income from these assets. In addition, if our acquisitions in other sectors produce insufficient revenues, or produce investment losses, or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations will be adversely affected, and our reputation and business may be harmed.
The agreements governing our indebtedness place restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, reducing operational flexibility and creating default risks.
The agreements governing our indebtedness, including, but not limited to, the indenture governing our Senior Notes and the revolving credit facility entered into on June 16, 2017 (“Revolving Credit Facility”), contain covenants that place restrictions on us and our subsidiaries. The indentures governing our Senior Notes and the Revolving Credit Facility restrict among other things, our and certain of our subsidiaries’ ability to:
•merge, consolidate or transfer all, or substantially all, of our assets;
•incur additional debt or issue preferred shares;
•make certain investments or acquisitions;
•create liens on our or our subsidiaries’ assets;
•make distributions on or repurchase our shares;
•enter into transactions with affiliates; and
•create dividend restrictions and other payment restrictions that affect our subsidiaries.
These covenants could impair our ability to grow our business, take advantage of attractive business opportunities or successfully compete. A breach of any of these covenants could result in an event of default. Cross-default provisions in our debt agreements could cause an event of default under one debt agreement to trigger an event of default under our other debt agreements. Upon the occurrence of an event of default under any of our debt agreements, the lenders or holders thereof could elect to declare all outstanding debt under such agreements to be immediately due and payable.
Terrorist attacks could negatively impact our operations and our profitability and may expose us to liability and reputational damage.
Terrorist attacks may negatively affect our operations. Such attacks have contributed to economic instability in the United States and elsewhere, and further acts of terrorism, violence or war could similarly affect world trade and the industries in which we and our customers operate. In addition, terrorist attacks or hostilities may directly impact airports or aircraft, ports where our containers and vessels travel, or our physical facilities or those of our customers. In addition, it is also possible that our assets could be involved in a terrorist attack. The consequences of any terrorist attacks or hostilities are unpredictable, and we may not be able to foresee events that could have a material adverse effect on our operations. Although our lease and charter agreements generally require the counterparties to indemnify us against all damages arising out of the use of our assets, and we carry insurance to potentially offset any costs in the event that our customer indemnifications prove to be insufficient, our insurance does not cover certain types of terrorist attacks, and we may not be fully protected from liability or the reputational damage that could arise from a terrorist attack which utilizes our assets.
Our leases and charters require payments in U.S. dollars, but many of our customers operate in other currencies; if foreign currencies devalue against the U.S. dollar, our lessees or charterers may be unable to meet their payment obligations to us in a timely manner.
Our current leases and charters require that payments be made in U.S. dollars. If the currency that our lessees or charterers typically use in operating their businesses devalues against the U.S. dollar, our lessees or charterers could encounter difficulties in making payments to us in U.S. dollars. Furthermore, many foreign countries have currency and exchange laws regulating international payments that may impede or prevent payments from being paid to us in U.S. dollars. Future leases or charters may provide for payments to be made in euros or other foreign currencies. Any change in the currency exchange rate that reduces the amount of U.S. dollars obtained by us upon conversion of future lease payments denominated in euros or other
foreign currencies, may, if not appropriately hedged by us, have a material adverse effect on us and increase the volatility of our earnings.
Our inability to obtain sufficient capital would constrain our ability to grow our portfolio and to increase our revenues.
Our business is capital intensive, and we have used and may continue to employ leverage to finance our operations. Accordingly, our ability to successfully execute our business strategy and maintain our operations depends on the availability and cost of debt and equity capital. Additionally, our ability to borrow against our assets is dependent, in part, on the appraised value of such assets. If the appraised value of such assets declines, we may be required to reduce the principal outstanding under our debt facilities or otherwise be unable to incur new borrowings.
We can give no assurance that the capital we need will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all. Our inability to obtain sufficient capital, or to renew or expand our credit facilities, could result in increased funding costs and would limit our ability to:
•meet the terms and maturities of our existing and future debt facilities;
•purchase new assets or refinance existing assets;
•fund our working capital needs and maintain adequate liquidity; and
•finance other growth initiatives.
In addition, we conduct our operations so that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”). As such, certain forms of financing such as finance leases may not be available to us. Please see “- If we are deemed an investment company under the Investment Company Act, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.”
The effects of various environmental regulations may negatively affect the industries in which we operate which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment, including those governing the discharge of pollutants to air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, the cleanup of contaminated sites and noise and emission levels. Under some environmental laws in the United States and certain other countries, strict liability may be imposed on the owners or operators of assets, which could render us liable for environmental and natural resource damages without regard to negligence or fault on our part. We could incur substantial costs, including cleanup costs, fines and third-party claims for property or natural resource damage and personal injury, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations in connection with our or our lessee’s or charterer’s current or historical operations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. While we typically maintain liability insurance coverage and typically require our lessees to provide us with indemnity against certain losses, the insurance coverage is subject to large deductibles, limits on maximum coverage and significant exclusions and may not be sufficient or available to protect against any or all liabilities and such indemnities may not cover or be sufficient to protect us against losses arising from environmental damage. In addition, changes to environmental standards or regulations in the industries in which we operate could limit the economic life of the assets we acquire or reduce their value, and also require us to make significant additional investments in order to maintain compliance, which would negatively impact our cash flows and results of operations.
Our Repauno site and Long Ridge property are subject to environmental laws and regulations that may expose us to significant costs and liabilities.
Our Repauno site is subject to ongoing environmental investigation and remediation by the former owner of the property related to historic industrial operations. The former owner is responsible for completion of this work, and we benefit from a related indemnity and insurance policy. If the former owner fails to fulfill its investigation and remediation, or indemnity obligations and the related insurance, which are subject to limits and conditions, fail to cover our costs, we could incur losses. Redevelopment of the property in those areas undergoing investigation and remediation must await state environmental agency confirmation that no further investigation or remediation is required before redevelopment activities can occur in such areas of the property. Therefore, any delay in the former owner’s completion of the environmental work or receipt of related approvals in an area of the property could delay our redevelopment activities. In addition, once received, permits and approvals may be subject to litigation, and projects may be delayed or approvals reversed or modified in litigation. If there is a delay in obtaining any required regulatory approval, it could delay projects and cause us to incur costs.
In connection with our acquisition of Long Ridge, the former owner of the property is obligated to perform certain post-closing demolition activities, remove specified containers, equipment and structures and conduct investigation, removal, cleanup and decontamination related thereto. In addition, the former owner is responsible for ongoing environmental remediation related to historic industrial operations on and off Long Ridge. Pursuant to an order issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (“Ohio EPA”), the former owner is responsible for completing the removal and off-site disposal of electrolytic pots associated with the former use of Long Ridge as an aluminum reduction plant. In addition, Long Ridge is located adjacent to the former Ormet Corporation Superfund site (the “Ormet site”), which is owned and operated by the former owner of Long Ridge. Pursuant to an order with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”), the former owner is obligated to pump groundwater that has been impacted by the adjacent Ormet site beneath our site and discharge it to the Ohio River and monitor the groundwater annually. Long Ridge is also subject to an environmental covenant related to the adjacent Ormet site that, inter alia,
restricts the use of groundwater beneath our site and requires U.S. EPA consent for activities on Long Ridge that could disrupt the groundwater monitoring or pumping. The former owner is contractually obligated to complete its regulatory obligations on Long Ridge and we benefit from a related indemnity and insurance policy. If the former owner fails to fulfill its demolition, removal, investigation, remediation, monitoring, or indemnity obligations, and if the related insurance, which is subject to limits and conditions, fails to cover our costs, we could incur losses. Redevelopment of the property in those areas undergoing investigation and remediation pursuant to the Ohio EPA order must await state environmental agency confirmation that no further investigation or remediation is required before redevelopment activities can occur in such area of the property. Therefore, any delay in the former owner’s completion of the environmental work or receipt of related approvals or consents from Ohio EPA or U.S. EPA could delay our redevelopment activities.
In addition, a portion of Long Ridge is proposed for redevelopment as a combined cycle gas-fired electric generating facility. Although environmental investigations in that portion of the property have not identified material impacts to soils or groundwater that reasonably would be expected to prevent or delay redevelopment, impacted materials could be encountered during construction that require special handling and/or result in delays to the project. In addition, the construction of an electric generating plant will require environmental permits and approvals from federal, state and local environmental agencies. Once received, permits and approvals may be subject to litigation, and projects may be delayed or approvals reversed or modified in litigation. If there is a delay in obtaining any required regulatory approval, it could delay projects and cause us to incur costs.
Moreover, new, stricter environmental laws, regulations or enforcement policies, including those imposed in response to climate change, could be implemented that significantly increase our compliance costs, or require us to adopt more costly methods of operation. If we are not able to transform Repauno or Long Ridge into hubs for industrial and energy development in a timely manner, their future prospects could be materially and adversely affected, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
The expected discontinuation of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate may have an impact on our business.
On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"), which regulates LIBOR, announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR rates after 2021. As a result, LIBOR may be discontinued after 2021. The FCA and the submitting LIBOR banks have indicated they will support the LIBOR indices through 2021 to allow for an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate. Financial services regulators and industry groups are evaluating the phase-out of LIBOR and the development of alternate reference rate indices or reference rates. On November 30, 2020, ICE Benchmark Administration, or the IBA, the administrator of LIBOR, with the support of the United States Federal Reserve and the FCA, announced plans to consult on ceasing publication of LIBOR on December 31, 2021, for only the one-week and two-month LIBOR tenors, and on June 30, 2023, for all other LIBOR tenors. While this announcement extends the transition period to June 2023, the U.S. Federal Reserve concurrently issued a statement advising banks to stop new LIBOR issuances by the end of 2021.
In the United States, the Alternative Reference Rate Committee (“ARRC”), a group of diverse private-market participants assembled by the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was tasked with identifying alternative reference rates to replace LIBOR. The Secured Overnight Finance Rate (“SOFR”) has emerged as the ARRC's preferred alternative rate for LIBOR. SOFR is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities in the repurchase agreement market. At this time, it is not possible to predict how markets will respond to SOFR or other alternative reference rates as the transition away from LIBOR is anticipated to be gradual over the coming years.
As of December 31, 2020, we had $25.0 million of total debt outstanding under facilities with interest rates based on floating-rate indices. We cannot predict what reference rate would be agreed upon or what the impact of any such replacement rate would be to our interest expense. Potential changes to the underlying floating-rate indices and reference rates may have an adverse impact on our agreements indexed to LIBOR and could have a negative impact on our profitability and cash flows.
A cyberattack that bypasses our information technology, or IT, security systems or the IT security systems of our third-party providers, causing an IT security breach, may lead to a disruption of our IT systems and the loss of business information which may hinder our ability to conduct our business effectively and may result in lost revenues and additional costs.
Parts of our business depend on the secure operation of our IT systems and the IT systems of our third-party providers to manage, process, store, and transmit information associated with aircraft leasing. We have, from time to time, experienced threats to our data and systems, including malware and computer virus attacks. A cyberattack that bypasses our IT security systems or the IT security systems of our third-party providers, causing an IT security breach, could adversely impact our daily operations and lead to the loss of sensitive information, including our own proprietary information and that of our customers, suppliers and employees. Such losses could harm our reputation and result in competitive disadvantages, litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, lost revenues, additional costs and liabilities. While we devote substantial resources to maintaining adequate levels of cyber-security, our resources and technical sophistication may not be adequate to prevent all types of cyberattacks.
If we are deemed an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We conduct our operations so that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company Act defines an investment company as any
issuer that is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act defines an investment company as any issuer that is engaged or proposes to engage in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of the issuer’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis. Excluded from the term “investment securities,” among other things, are U.S. government securities and securities issued by majority-owned subsidiaries that are not themselves investment companies and are not relying on the exception from the definition of investment company for certain privately-offered investment vehicles set forth in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act.
We are a holding company that is not an investment company because we are engaged in the business of holding securities of our wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries, which are engaged in transportation and related businesses which lease assets pursuant to operating leases and finance leases. The Investment Company Act may limit our and our subsidiaries’ ability to enter into financing leases and engage in other types of financial activity because less than 40% of the value of our and our subsidiaries’ total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis can consist of “investment securities.”
If we or any of our subsidiaries were required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, the registered entity would become subject to substantial regulation that would significantly change our operations, and we would not be able to conduct our business as described in this report. We have not obtained a formal determination from the SEC as to our status under the Investment Company Act and, consequently, any violation of the Investment Company Act would subject us to material adverse consequences.
Risks Related to Our Manager
We are dependent on our Manager and other key personnel at Fortress and may not find suitable replacements if our Manager terminates the Management Agreement or if other key personnel depart.
Our officers and other individuals who perform services for us (other than Aviation, Jefferson, Repauno and Long Ridge employees) are employees of our Manager or other Fortress entities. We are completely reliant on our Manager, which has significant discretion as to the implementation of our operating policies and strategies, to conduct our business. We are subject to the risk that our Manager will terminate the Management Agreement and that we will not be able to find a suitable replacement for our Manager in a timely manner, at a reasonable cost, or at all. Furthermore, we are dependent on the services of certain key employees of our Manager and certain key employees of Fortress entities whose compensation is partially or entirely dependent upon the amount of management fees earned by our Manager or the incentive allocations distributed to the General Partner and whose continued service is not guaranteed, and the loss of such personnel or services could materially adversely affect our operations. We do not have key man insurance for any of the personnel of the Manager or other Fortress entities that are key to us. An inability to find a suitable replacement for any departing employee of our Manager or Fortress entities on a timely basis could materially adversely affect our ability to operate and grow our business.
In addition, our Manager may assign our Management Agreement to an entity whose business and operations are managed or supervised by Mr. Wesley R. Edens, who is a principal, Co-Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Fortress, an affiliate of our Manager, and a member of the management committee of Fortress since co-founding Fortress in May 1998. In the event of any such assignment to a non-affiliate of Fortress, the functions currently performed by our Manager’s current personnel may be performed by others. We can give you no assurance that such personnel would manage our operations in the same manner as our Manager currently does, and the failure by the personnel of any such entity to acquire assets generating attractive risk-adjusted returns could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
On December 27, 2017, SoftBank announced that it completed the SoftBank Merger. In connection with the SoftBank Merger, Fortress operates within SoftBank as an independent business headquartered in New York. There can be no assurance that the SoftBank Merger will not have an impact on us or our relationship with the Manager.
There are conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager.
Our Management Agreement, the Partnership Agreement and our operating agreement were negotiated prior to our IPO and among affiliated parties, and their terms, including fees payable, may not be as favorable to us as if they had been negotiated after our IPO with an unaffiliated third-party.
There are conflicts of interest inherent in our relationship with our Manager insofar as our Manager and its affiliates - including investment funds, private investment funds, or businesses managed by our Manager, including Seacastle Inc., Florida East Coast Industries, LLC (“FECI”) and FYX - invest in transportation and transportation-related infrastructure assets and whose investment objectives overlap with our asset acquisition objectives. Certain opportunities appropriate for us may also be appropriate for one or more of these other investment vehicles. Certain members of our board of directors and employees of our Manager who are our officers also serve as officers and/or directors of these other entities. For example, we have some of the same directors and officers as Seacastle Inc and FYX. Although we have the same Manager, we may compete with entities affiliated with our Manager or Fortress, including Seacastle Inc., FECI and FYX, for certain target assets. From time to time, affiliates of Fortress focus on investments in assets with a similar profile as our target assets that we may seek to acquire. These affiliates may have meaningful purchasing capacity, which may change over time depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, available equity capital and debt financing, market conditions and cash on hand. Fortress has multiple existing
and planned funds focused on investing in one or more of our target sectors, each with significant current or expected capital commitments. We have previously purchased and may in the future purchase assets from these funds, and have previously co-invested and may in the future co-invest with these funds in transportation and transportation-related infrastructure assets. Fortress funds generally have a fee structure similar to ours, but the fees actually paid will vary depending on the size, terms and performance of each fund.
Our Management Agreement generally does not limit or restrict our Manager or its affiliates from engaging in any business or managing other pooled investment vehicles that invest in assets that meet our asset acquisition objectives. Our Manager intends to engage in additional transportation and infrastructure related management and other investment opportunities in the future, which may compete with us for investments or result in a change in our current investment strategy. In addition, our operating agreement provides that if Fortress or an affiliate or any of their officers, directors or employees acquire knowledge of a potential transaction that could be a corporate opportunity, they have no duty, to the fullest extent permitted by law, to offer such corporate opportunity to us, our shareholders or our affiliates. In the event that any of our directors and officers who is also a director, officer or employee of Fortress or its affiliates acquires knowledge of a corporate opportunity or is offered a corporate opportunity, provided that this knowledge was not acquired solely in such person’s capacity as a director or officer of FTAI and such person acts in good faith, then to the fullest extent permitted by law such person is deemed to have fully satisfied such person’s fiduciary duties owed to us and is not liable to us if Fortress or its affiliates pursues or acquires the corporate opportunity or if such person did not present the corporate opportunity to us.
The ability of our Manager and its officers and employees to engage in other business activities, subject to the terms of our Management Agreement, may reduce the amount of time our Manager, its officers or other employees spend managing us. In addition, we may engage (subject to our strategy) in material transactions with our Manager or another entity managed by our Manager or one of its affiliates, including Seacastle Inc., FECI and FYX, which may include, but are not limited to, certain acquisitions, financing arrangements, purchases of debt, co-investments, consumer loans, servicing advances and other assets that present an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest. Our board of directors adopted a policy regarding the approval of any “related person transactions” pursuant to which certain of the material transactions described above may require disclosure to, and approval by, the independent members of our board of directors. Actual, potential or perceived conflicts have given, and may in the future give, rise to investor dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory inquiries or enforcement actions. Appropriately dealing with conflicts of interest is complex and difficult, and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Regulatory scrutiny of, or litigation in connection with, conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, which could materially adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including causing an inability to raise additional funds, a reluctance of counterparties to do business with us, a decrease in the prices of our equity securities and a resulting increased risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement actions.
The structure of our Manager’s and the General Partner’s compensation arrangements may have unintended consequences for us. We have agreed to pay our Manager a management fee and the General Partner is entitled to receive incentive allocations from Holdco that are each based on different measures of performance. Consequently, there may be conflicts in the incentives of our Manager to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for us. In addition, because the General Partner and our Manager are both affiliates of Fortress, the Income Incentive Allocation paid to the General Partner may cause our Manager to place undue emphasis on the maximization of earnings, including through the use of leverage, at the expense of other objectives, such as preservation of capital, to achieve higher incentive allocations. Investments with higher yield potential are generally riskier or more speculative than investments with lower yield potential. This could result in increased risk to the value of our portfolio of assets and our common shares.
Our directors have approved a broad asset acquisition strategy for our Manager and do not approve each acquisition we make at the direction of our Manager. In addition, we may change our strategy without a shareholder vote, which may result in our acquiring assets that are different, riskier or less profitable than our current assets.
Our Manager is authorized to follow a broad asset acquisition strategy. We may pursue other types of acquisitions as market conditions evolve. Our Manager makes decisions about our investments in accordance with broad investment guidelines adopted by our board of directors. Accordingly, we may, without a shareholder vote, change our target sectors and acquire a variety of assets that differ from, and are possibly riskier than, our current asset portfolio. Consequently, our Manager has great latitude in determining the types and categories of assets it may decide are proper investments for us, including the latitude to invest in types and categories of assets that may differ from those in our existing portfolio. Our directors will periodically review our strategy and our portfolio of assets. However, our board does not review or pre-approve each proposed acquisition or our related financing arrangements. In addition, in conducting periodic reviews, the directors rely primarily on information provided to them by our Manager. Furthermore, transactions entered into by our Manager may be difficult or impossible to reverse by the time they are reviewed by the directors even if the transactions contravene the terms of the Management Agreement. In addition, we may change our asset acquisition strategy, including our target asset classes, without a shareholder vote.
Our asset acquisition strategy may evolve in light of existing market conditions and investment opportunities, and this evolution may involve additional risks depending upon the nature of the assets we target and our ability to finance such assets on a short or long-term basis. Opportunities that present unattractive risk-return profiles relative to other available opportunities under particular market conditions may become relatively attractive under changed market conditions and changes in market conditions may therefore result in changes in the assets we target. Decisions to make acquisitions in new asset categories present risks that may be difficult for us to adequately assess and could therefore reduce or eliminate our ability to pay dividends on our
common shares or have adverse effects on our liquidity or financial condition. A change in our asset acquisition strategy may also increase our exposure to interest rate, foreign currency or credit market fluctuations. In addition, a change in our asset acquisition strategy may increase our use of non-match-funded financing, increase the guarantee obligations we agree to incur or increase the number of transactions we enter into with affiliates. Our failure to accurately assess the risks inherent in new asset categories or the financing risks associated with such assets could adversely affect our results of operations and our financial condition.
Our Manager will not be liable to us for any acts or omissions performed in accordance with the Management Agreement, including with respect to the performance of our assets.
Pursuant to our Management Agreement, our Manager will not assume any responsibility other than to render the services called for thereunder in good faith and will not be responsible for any action of our board of directors in following or declining to follow its advice or recommendations. Our Manager, its members, managers, officers, employees, sub-advisers and any other person controlling or Manager, will not be liable to us or any of our subsidiaries, to our board of directors, or our or any subsidiary’s shareholders or partners for any acts or omissions by our Manager, its members, managers, officers, employees, sub-advisers and any other person controlling or Manager, except liability to us, our shareholders, directors, officers and employees and persons controlling us, by reason of acts constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement. We will, to the full extent lawful, reimburse, indemnify and hold our Manager, its members, managers, officers and employees, sub-advisers and each other person, if any, controlling our Manager harmless of and from any and all expenses, losses, damages, liabilities, demands, charges and claims of any nature whatsoever (including attorneys’ fees) in respect of or arising from any acts or omissions of an indemnified party made in good faith in the performance of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement and not constituting such indemnified party’s bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement.
Our Manager’s due diligence of potential asset acquisitions or other transactions may not identify all pertinent risks, which could materially affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.
Our Manager intends to conduct due diligence with respect to each asset acquisition opportunity or other transaction it pursues. It is possible, however, that our Manager’s due diligence processes will not uncover all relevant facts, particularly with respect to any assets we acquire from third parties. In these cases, our Manager may be given limited access to information about the asset and will rely on information provided by the seller of the asset. In addition, if asset acquisition opportunities are scarce, the process for selecting bidders is competitive, or the timeframe in which we are required to complete diligence is short, our ability to conduct a due diligence investigation may be limited, and we would be required to make decisions based upon a less thorough diligence process than would otherwise be the case. Accordingly, transactions that initially appear to be viable may prove not to be over time, due to the limitations of the due diligence process or other factors.
Risks Related to Taxation
Shareholders may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on their share of our taxable income, regardless of whether they receive any cash dividends from us.
So long as we would not be required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 if we were a U.S. Corporation and 90% of our gross income for each taxable year constitutes “qualifying income” within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), on a continuing basis, FTAI will be treated, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as a partnership and not as an association or publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation. Holders of our common shares may be subject to U.S. federal, state, local and possibly, in some cases, non-U.S. income taxation on their allocable share of our items of income, gain, loss, deduction and credit (including our allocable share of those items of Holdco or any other entity in which we invest that is treated as a partnership or is otherwise subject to tax on a flow through basis) for each of our taxable years ending with or within their taxable year, regardless of whether they receive cash dividends from us. Such shareholders may not receive cash dividends equal to their allocable share of our net taxable income or even the tax liability that results from that income.
We may hold or acquire certain investments through entities classified as CFCs or PFICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Many of our investments are in non-U.S. corporations or are held through non-U.S. subsidiaries that are classified as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Some of these foreign entities may be classified as controlled foreign corporations (“CFCs”) or passive foreign investment companies (“PFICs”) (each as defined in the Code). Shareholders subject to U.S. federal income tax may experience adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences related to the indirect ownership of CFC or PFIC shares. For example, such shareholders may be required to take into account U.S. taxable income with respect to such CFCs or PFICs without a corresponding receipt of cash from us. In addition, under the CFC rules, certain capital gains are treated as ordinary dividend income and shareholders could be subject to income inclusions in respect of the "global intangible low-taxed income" of the CFC. Treasury regulations have been proposed that, if finalized, will generally have the effect of limiting certain adverse consequences of the CFC rules to shareholders treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as owning indirectly or constructively (including through other partnerships) stock possessing 10% or more of the voting power or value of such CFCs. Taxpayers are permitted to rely, and we intend to rely, on such proposed regulations.
Under the PFIC rules, indirect ownership of PFIC shares by U.S. persons generally gives rise to materially adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences, which may be mitigated by electing to treat the PFIC as a qualified electing fund (“QEF”). We
currently anticipate using commercially reasonable efforts to make such an election (a “QEF Election”) with respect to each PFIC in which we hold a material interest, directly or indirectly, in the first year during which we hold shares in such entity. As a result, U.S. holders of our common shares will generally be subject to tax on a current basis on their respective shares of each such PFIC’s undistributed ordinary earnings and net capital gains for each year in which the entity is a PFIC, regardless of whether such holders receive a corresponding distribution of cash from us. In certain cases, however, we may be unable to make a QEF Election with respect to a PFIC because, for example, we are unable to obtain the necessary information. In such event, U.S. holders of our common shares will be subject to imputed interest charges and other disadvantageous tax treatment with respect to certain “excess distributions” from the PFIC and gain realized upon the direct or indirect sale of the PFIC (including through the sale our common shares).
Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the potential impact of the rules regarding CFCs and PFICs before investing in our shares.
Certain tax consequences of the ownership of our preferred shares, including treatment of distributions as guaranteed payments for the use of capital, are uncertain.
The tax treatment of distributions on our preferred shares is uncertain. We intend to treat the holders of our preferred shares as partners for tax purposes and we intend to treat distributions on the shares as guaranteed payments for the use of capital that will generally be taxable to the holders of our preferred shares as ordinary income. Although a holder of our preferred shares will recognize taxable income from the accrual of such a guaranteed payment (even in the absence of a contemporaneous cash distribution), we anticipate accruing and making the guaranteed payment distributions quarterly. Except in the case of any loss recognized in connection with our liquidation, holders of our preferred shares are generally not anticipated to share in our items of income, gain, loss or deduction, nor are they anticipated to be allocated any share of our nonrecourse liabilities. If our preferred shares were treated as indebtedness for tax purposes, rather than as guaranteed payments for the use of capital, distributions likely would be treated as payments of interest by us to the holders of our preferred shares. Finally, if holders of our preferred shares were entitled to an allocation of income from FTAI, the risk factors applicable to holders of common shares would generally apply.
U.S. tax reform could adversely affect us and our shareholders.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”), which is generally effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, amended the Code in a manner that significantly changed the taxation of individuals and business entities, including with respect to the taxation of offshore earnings and the deductibility of interest. In some cases, there is still uncertainty around the scope and application of the TCJA that may be addressed in future guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS. Some of the changes could adversely affect our business and financial condition and the value of our shares. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), which was enacted on March 27, 2020, temporarily modifies some provisions of the TCJA.
Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors about the TCJA and its potential impact before investing in our shares.
Under the TCJA, shareholders that are not U.S. persons could be subject to U.S. federal income tax, including a 10% withholding tax, on the disposition of our shares.
If the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) were to determine that we, Holdco, or any other entity in which we invest that is subject to tax on a flow-through basis, is engaged in a U.S. trade or business for U.S. federal income tax purposes, any gain recognized by a foreign transferor on the sale, exchange or other disposition of our shares would generally be treated as “effectively connected” with such trade or business to the extent it does not exceed the effectively connected gain that would be allocable to the transferor if we sold all of our assets at their fair market value as of the date of the transferor’s disposition. Under the TCJA, any such gain that is treated as effectively connected will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax. In addition, the transferee of the shares or the applicable withholding agent would be required to deduct and withhold a tax equal to 10% of the amount realized by the transferor on the disposition, which would include an allocable portion of our liabilities and would therefore generally exceed the amount of transferred cash received by transferor in the disposition, unless the transferor provides an IRS Form W-9 or an affidavit stating the transferor’s taxpayer identification number and that the transferor is not a foreign person. If the transferee fails to properly withhold such tax, we would be required to deduct and withhold from distributions to the transferee a tax in an amount equal to the amount the transferee failed to withhold, plus interest. Although we do not believe that we are currently engaged in a U.S. trade or business (directly or indirectly through pass-through subsidiaries), we are not required to manage our operations in a manner that is intended to avoid the conduct of a U.S. trade or business.
The withholding requirements with respect to the disposition of an interest in a publicly traded partnership are currently suspended and will remain suspended until Treasury regulations are promulgated or other relevant authoritative guidance is issued. Future guidance on the implementation of these requirements will be applicable on a prospective basis.
Tax gain or loss on a sale or other disposition of our common shares could be more or less than expected.
If a sale of our common shares by a shareholder is taxable in the United States, the shareholder will recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized by such shareholder in the sale and such shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in those shares. A shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in the shares at the time of sale will generally be lower than the shareholder’s original tax basis in the shares to the extent that prior distributions to such shareholder exceed the total taxable income allocated to such shareholder. A shareholder may therefore recognize a gain in a sale of our common shares if the shares are sold at a price that is less than their original cost. A portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be treated as ordinary income to such shareholder.
Our ability to make distributions depends on our receiving sufficient cash distributions from our subsidiaries, and we cannot assure our shareholders that we will be able to make cash distributions to them in amounts that are sufficient to fund their tax liabilities.
Our subsidiaries may be subject to local taxes in each of the relevant territories and jurisdictions in which they operate, including taxes on income, profits or gains and withholding taxes. As a result, our funds available for distribution are indirectly reduced by such taxes, and the post-tax return to our shareholders is similarly reduced by such taxes.
In general, a shareholder that is subject to U.S. federal income tax must include in income its allocable share of FTAI’s items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit (including, so long as FTAI is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, FTAI’s allocable share of those items of Holdco and any pass-through subsidiaries of Holdco) for each of our taxable years ending with or within such shareholder’s taxable year. However, the cash distributed to a shareholder may not be sufficient to pay the full amount of such shareholder’s tax liability in respect of its investment in us, because each shareholder’s tax liability depends on such shareholder’s particular tax situation and the tax treatment of our underlying activities or assets.
If we are treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the value of the shares could be adversely affected.
We have not requested, and do not plan to request, a ruling from the IRS on our treatment as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, or on any other matter affecting us. As of the date of the consummation of our initial public offering, under then current law and assuming full compliance with the terms of our operating agreement (and other relevant documents) and based upon factual statements and representations made by us, our outside counsel opined that we will be treated as a partnership, and not as an association or a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. However, opinions of counsel are not binding upon the IRS or any court, and the IRS may challenge this conclusion and a court may sustain such a challenge. The factual representations made by us upon which our outside counsel relied relate to our organization, operation, assets, activities, income, and present and future conduct of our operations. In general, if an entity that would otherwise be classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes is a “publicly traded partnership” (as defined in the Code) it will be nonetheless treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, unless the exception described below, and upon which we intend to rely, applies. A publicly traded partnership will, however, be treated as a partnership, and not as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, so long as 90% or more of its gross income for each taxable year constitutes “qualifying income” within the meaning of the Code and it is not required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940. We refer to this exception as the “Qualifying Income Exception.”
Qualifying income generally includes dividends, interest, capital gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks and securities and certain other forms of investment income. We believe that our return from investments will include interest, dividends, capital gains and other types of qualifying income, but no assurance can be given as to the types of income that will be earned in any given year.
If we fail to satisfy the Qualifying Income Exception, we would be required to pay U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates on our income. Although the TCJA reduced regular corporate rates from 35% to 21%, our failure to qualify as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes could nevertheless adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, we would likely be liable for state and local income and/or franchise taxes on our income. Finally, distributions of cash to shareholders would constitute qualified dividend income taxable to such shareholders to the extent of our earnings and profits and would not be deductible by us. Taxation of us as a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation could result in a material adverse effect on our cash flow and the after-tax returns for shareholders and thus could result in a substantial reduction in the value of our shares.
Shareholders that are not U.S. persons should also anticipate being required to file U.S. tax returns and may be required to pay U.S. tax solely on account of owning our shares.
In light of our intended investment activities, we may be, or may become, engaged in a U.S. trade or business for U.S. federal income tax purposes (directly or indirectly through pass-through subsidiaries), in which case some portion of our income would be treated as effectively connected income with respect to non-U.S. persons. Moreover, we anticipate that, in the future, we will sell interests in U.S. real holding property corporations (each a “USRPHC”) and therefore be deemed to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business at such time. If we were to realize gain from the sale or other disposition of a U.S. real property interest (including a USRPHC) or were otherwise engaged in a U.S. trade or business, non-U.S. persons holding our common shares generally would be required to file U.S. federal income tax returns and would be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax on their allocable share of the effectively connected income on gain at the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rates applicable to ordinary income. Likewise, non-U.S. persons holding our preferred shares, by virtue of receiving guaranteed payments, may be required to file U.S. federal income tax returns and may be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax on their guaranteed payments, irrespective of our operations or investments. In both cases, non-U.S. persons that are corporations may also be subject to a branch profits tax on their allocable share of such income. Non-U.S. persons should anticipate being required to file U.S. tax returns and may be required to pay U.S. tax solely on account of owning our shares. Non-U.S. shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the tax consequences of an investment in our shares.
Non-U.S. persons that hold (or are deemed to hold) more than 5% of any class of our shares (or held, or were deemed to hold, more than 5% of any class of our shares) may be subject to U.S. federal income tax upon the disposition of some or all their shares.
If a non-U.S. person held more than 5% of any class of our shares at any time during the 5-year period preceding such non-U.S. person’s disposition of such shares, and we were considered a USRPHC (determined as if we were a U.S. corporation) at any time during such 5-year period because of our current or previous ownership of U.S. real property interests above a certain threshold, such non-U.S. person may be subject to U.S. tax on such disposition of such shares (and may have a U.S. tax return filing obligation).
Tax-exempt shareholders may face certain adverse U.S. tax consequences from owning our shares.
We are not required to manage our operations in a manner that would minimize the likelihood of generating income that would constitute “unrelated business taxable income” (“UBTI”) to the extent allocated to a tax-exempt shareholder. Although we expect to invest through subsidiaries that are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes and such corporate investments would generally not result in an allocation of UBTI to a shareholder on account of the activities of those subsidiaries, we may not invest through corporate subsidiaries in all cases. Moreover, UBTI also includes income attributable to debt-financed property and we are not prohibited from incurring debt to finance our investments, including investments in subsidiaries. Furthermore, we are not prohibited from being (or causing a subsidiary to be) a guarantor of loans made to a subsidiary. If we (or certain of our subsidiaries) were treated as the borrower for U.S. tax purposes on account of those guarantees, some or all of our investments could be considered debt-financed property. In addition, the treatment of guaranteed payments for the use of capital to tax-exempt investors is not certain, and so distributions on our preferred shares may be treated as UBTI for federal income tax purposes, irrespective of our operations or the structure of our investments. The potential for income to be characterized as UBTI could make our shares an unsuitable investment for a tax-exempt entity. Tax-exempt shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the tax consequences of an investment in our shares.
If substantially all of the U.S. source rental income derived from aircraft or ships used to transport passengers or cargo in international traffic (“U.S. source international transport rental income”) of any of our non-U.S. corporate subsidiaries is attributable to activities of personnel based in the United States, such subsidiary could be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net income basis at regular tax rates, rather than at a rate of 4% on gross income, which would adversely affect our business and result in decreased funds available for distribution to our shareholders.
We believe that the U.S. source international transport rental income of our non-U.S. subsidiaries generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax, on a gross-income basis at a rate not in excess of 4%. If any of our non-U.S. subsidiaries that is treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes did not comply with certain administrative guidelines of the IRS, such that 90% or more of such subsidiary’s U.S. source international transport rental income were attributable to the activities of personnel based in the United States (in the case of bareboat leases) or from “regularly scheduled transportation” as defined in such administrative guidelines (in the case of time-charter leases), such subsidiary’s U.S. source rental income would be treated as income effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States. In such case, such subsidiary’s U.S. source international transport rental income would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at a maximum rate of 21% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. In addition, such subsidiary would be subject to the U.S. federal branch profits tax on its effectively connected earnings and profits at a rate of 30%. The imposition of such taxes would adversely affect our business and would result in decreased funds available for distribution to our shareholders.
The ability of our corporate subsidiaries to utilize net operating losses (“NOLs”) to offset their future taxable income may become limited.
Certain of our corporate subsidiaries have significant NOLs, and any limitation on their use could materially affect our profitability. Such a limitation could occur if our corporate subsidiaries were to experience an “ownership change” as defined under Section 382 of the Code. The rules for determining ownership changes are complex, and changes in the ownership of our shares could
cause an ownership change in one or more of our corporate subsidiaries. Sales of our shares by our shareholders, as well as future issuances of our shares, could contribute to a potential ownership change in our corporate subsidiaries.
Our subsidiaries may become subject to unanticipated tax liabilities that may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Some of our subsidiaries are subject to income, withholding or other taxes in certain non-U.S. jurisdictions by reason of their jurisdiction of incorporation, activities and operations, where their assets are used or where the lessees of their assets (or others in possession of their assets) are located, and it is also possible that taxing authorities in any such jurisdictions could assert that our subsidiaries are subject to greater taxation than we currently anticipate. Further, the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) recently entered into force among the jurisdictions that ratified it. The implementation of BEPS prevention measures could result in a higher effective tax rate on our worldwide earnings by, for example, reducing the tax deductions or otherwise increasing the taxable income of our subsidiaries. In addition, a portion of certain of our non-U.S. corporate subsidiaries’ income is treated as effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business and is accordingly subject to U.S. federal income tax. It is possible that the IRS could assert that a greater portion of any such non-U.S. subsidiaries’ income is effectively connected income that should be subject to U.S. federal income tax.
Our structure involves complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. Our structure also is subject to potential legislative, judicial or administrative change and differing interpretations, possibly on a retroactive basis.
The U.S. federal income tax treatment of our shareholders depends in some instances on determinations of fact and interpretations of complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. The U.S. federal income tax treatment of our shareholders may also be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial interpretation at any time, possibly on a retroactive basis, and any such action may affect our investments and commitments that were previously made, and could adversely affect the value of our shares or cause us to change the way we conduct our business.
Our organizational documents and agreements permit the board of directors to modify our operating agreement from time to time, without the consent of shareholders, in order to address certain changes in Treasury regulations, legislation or interpretation. In some circumstances, such revisions could have a material adverse impact on some or all shareholders. Moreover, we will apply certain assumptions and conventions in an attempt to comply with applicable rules and to report income, gain, deduction, loss and credit to shareholders in a manner that reflects such shareholders’ beneficial ownership of partnership items, taking into account variation in ownership interests during each taxable year because of trading activity. However, these assumptions and conventions may not be in compliance with all aspects of applicable tax requirements. It is possible that the IRS will assert successfully that the conventions and assumptions used by us do not satisfy the technical requirements of the Code and/or Treasury regulations and could require that items of income, gain, deduction, loss or credit, including interest deductions, be adjusted, reallocated, or disallowed, in a manner that adversely affects shareholders.
We could incur a significant tax liability if the IRS successfully asserts that the “anti-stapling” rules apply to our investments in our non-U.S. and U.S. subsidiaries, which would adversely affect our business and result in decreased funds available for distribution to our shareholders.
If we were subject to the “anti-stapling” rules of Section 269B of the Code, we would incur a significant tax liability as a result of owning more than 50% of the value of both U.S. and non-U.S. corporate subsidiaries, whose equity interests constitute “stapled interests” that may only be transferred together. If the “anti-stapling” rules applied, our non-U.S. corporate subsidiaries that are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes would be treated as U.S. corporations, which would cause those entities to be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on their worldwide income. Because we intend to separately manage and operate our non-U.S. and U.S. corporate subsidiaries and structure their business activities in a manner that would allow us to dispose of such subsidiaries separately, we do not expect that the “anti-stapling” rules will apply. However, there can be no assurance that the IRS would not successfully assert a contrary position, which would adversely affect our business and result in decreased funds available for distribution to our shareholders.
Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of our shares, we have therefore adopted certain income tax accounting positions that may not conform with all aspects of applicable tax requirements. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of our shares.
Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of our shares, we have adopted depreciation, amortization and other tax accounting positions that may not conform with all aspects of existing Treasury regulations. A successful IRS challenge to those positions could adversely affect the amount of tax benefits available to our shareholders. It also could affect the timing of these tax benefits or the amount of gain on the sale of our common shares and could have a negative impact on the value of our common shares or result in audits of and adjustments to our shareholders’ tax returns.
We generally allocate items of income, gain, loss and deduction using a monthly or other convention, whereby any such items we recognize in a given month are allocated to our shareholders as of a specified date of such month. As a result, if a shareholder transfers its common shares, it might be allocated income, gain, loss and deduction realized by us after the date of the transfer. Similarly, if a shareholder acquires additional common shares, it might be allocated income, gain, loss, and deduction realized by us prior to its ownership of such common shares. Consequently, our shareholders may recognize income in excess of cash distributions received from us, and any income so included by a shareholder would increase the basis such
shareholder has in its common shares and would offset any gain (or increase the amount of loss) realized by such shareholder on a subsequent disposition of its common shares.
Rules regarding U.S. federal income tax liability arising from IRS audits could adversely affect our shareholders.
For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, we will be liable for U.S. federal income tax liability arising from an IRS audit, unless certain alternative methods are available and we elect to use them. It is possible that certain shareholders or we may be liable for taxes attributable to adjustments to our taxable income with respect to tax years that closed before such shareholders owned our shares. Accordingly, these rules may adversely affect certain shareholders in certain cases. This differs from the rules that apply for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, which generally provide that tax adjustments only affect the persons who were shareholders in the tax year in which the item was reported on our tax return. The manner in which these rules apply is uncertain and in many respects depends on the promulgation of future regulations or other guidance by the U.S. Treasury Department or the IRS.
Risks Related to Our Shares
The market price and trading volume of our common and preferred shares may be volatile, which could result in rapid and substantial losses for our shareholders.
The market price of our common and preferred shares may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume in our common and preferred shares may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. If the market price of our common or preferred shares declines significantly, you may be unable to resell your shares at or above your purchase price, if at all. The market price of our common and preferred shares may fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our shares include:
•a shift in our investor base;
•our quarterly or annual earnings, or those of other comparable companies;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;
•changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;
•announcements by us or our competitors of significant investments, acquisitions or dispositions;
•the failure of securities analysts to cover our common shares;
•changes in earnings estimates by securities analysts or our ability to meet those estimates;
•the operating and share price performance of other comparable companies;
•prevailing interest rates or rates of return being paid by other comparable companies and the market for securities similar to our preferred shares;
•additional issuances of preferred shares;
•whether we we declare distributions on our preferred shares;
•overall market fluctuations;
•general economic conditions; and
•developments in the markets and market sectors in which we participate.
Stock markets in the United States have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. Market fluctuations, as well as general political and economic conditions, such as acts of terrorism, prolonged economic uncertainty, a recession or interest rate or currency rate fluctuations, could adversely affect the market price of our common and preferred shares.
We are required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls, and the outcome of that effort may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. Because we are no longer an emerging growth company, we are subject to heightened disclosure obligations, which may impact our share price.
As a public company, we are required to comply with Section 404 (“Section 404”) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 requires that we evaluate the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting at the end of each fiscal year and to include a management report assessing the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for that fiscal year. Section 404 also requires an independent registered public accounting firm to attest to, and report on, management’s assessment of our internal controls over financial reporting. Because we ceased to be an emerging growth company at the end of 2017, we were required to have our independent registered public accounting firm attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls in our Annual Reports on Form 10-K starting with the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, and will be required to do so going forward. The outcome of our review and the report of our independent registered public accounting firm may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. During the course of our review, we may identify control deficiencies of varying degrees of severity, and we may incur significant costs to remediate those deficiencies or otherwise improve our internal controls. As a public company, we are required to report control deficiencies that constitute a “material weakness” in our internal control over financial reporting. If we discover a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, our share price could decline and our ability to raise capital could be impaired.
Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted in the future.
Your percentage ownership in FTAI may be diluted in the future because of equity awards granted and may be granted to our Manager pursuant to the Management Agreement and the Incentive Plan. Since 2015, we granted our Manager an option to acquire 2,218,692 common shares in connection with equity offerings. In the future, upon the successful completion of additional offerings of our common shares or other equity securities (including securities issued as consideration in an acquisition), we will grant to our Manager options to purchase common shares in an amount equal to 10% of the number of common shares being sold in such offerings (or if the issuance relates to equity securities other than our common shares, options to purchase a number of common shares equal to 10% of the gross capital raised in the equity issuance divided by the fair market value of a common share as of the date of the issuance), with an exercise price equal to the offering price per share paid by the public or other ultimate purchaser or attributed to such securities in connection with an acquisition (or the fair market value of a common share as of the date of the equity issuance if it relates to equity securities other than our common shares), and any such offering or the exercise of the option in connection with such offering would cause dilution.
Our board of directors has adopted the Incentive Plan, which provides for the grant of equity-based awards, including restricted shares, stock options, stock appreciation rights, performance awards, restricted share units, tandem awards and other equity-based and non-equity based awards, in each case to our Manager, to the directors, officers, employees, service providers, consultants and advisors of our Manager who perform services for us, and to our directors, officers, employees, service providers, consultants and advisors. We have initially reserved 30,000,000 common shares for issuance under the Incentive Plan. As of December 31, 2020, rights relating to 2,243,692 of our common shares were outstanding under the Incentive Plan. In the future on the date of any equity issuance by us during the ten-year term of the Incentive Plan (including in respect of securities issued as consideration in an acquisition), the maximum number of shares available for issuance under the Plan will be increased to include an additional number of common shares equal to ten percent (10%) of either (i) the total number of common shares newly issued by us in such equity issuance or (ii) if such equity issuance relates to equity securities other than our common shares, a number of our common shares equal to 10% of (A) the gross capital raised in an equity issuance of equity securities other than common shares during the ten-year term of the Incentive Plan, divided by (B) the fair market value of a common share as of the date of such equity issuance.
Sales or issuances of our common shares could adversely affect the market price of our common shares.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common shares in the public market, or the perception that such sales might occur, could adversely affect the market price of our common shares. The issuance of our common shares in connection with property, portfolio or business acquisitions or the exercise of outstanding options or otherwise could also have an adverse effect on the market price of our common shares.
The incurrence or issuance of debt, which ranks senior to our common shares upon our liquidation, and future issuances of equity or equity-related securities, which would dilute the holdings of our existing common shareholders and may be senior to our common shares for the purposes of making distributions, periodically or upon liquidation, may negatively affect the market price of our common shares.
We have incurred and may in the future incur or issue debt or issue equity or equity-related securities to finance our operations, acquisitions or investments. Upon our liquidation, lenders and holders of our debt and holders of our preferred shares (if any) would receive a distribution of our available assets before common shareholders. Any future incurrence or issuance of debt would increase our interest cost and could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. We are not required to offer any additional equity securities to existing common shareholders on a preemptive basis. Therefore, additional issuances of common shares, directly or through convertible or exchangeable securities (including limited partnership interests in our operating partnership), warrants or options, will dilute the holdings of our existing common shareholders and such issuances, or the perception of such issuances, may reduce the market price of our common shares. Any preferred shares issued by us would likely have a preference on distribution payments, periodically or upon liquidation, which could eliminate or otherwise limit our ability to make distributions to common shareholders. Because our decision to incur or issue debt or issue equity or equity-related securities in the future will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing, nature or success of our future capital raising efforts. Thus, common shareholders bear the risk that our future incurrence or issuance of debt or issuance of equity or equity-related securities will adversely affect the market price of our common shares.
Our determination of how much leverage to use to finance our acquisitions may adversely affect our return on our assets and may reduce funds available for distribution.
We utilize leverage to finance many of our asset acquisitions, which entitles certain lenders to cash flows prior to retaining a return on our assets. While our Manager targets using only what we believe to be reasonable leverage, our strategy does not limit the amount of leverage we may incur with respect to any specific asset. The return we are able to earn on our assets and funds available for distribution to our shareholders may be significantly reduced due to changes in market conditions, which may cause the cost of our financing to increase relative to the income that can be derived from our assets.
While we currently intend to pay regular quarterly dividends to our shareholders, we may change our dividend policy at any time.
Although we currently intend to pay regular quarterly dividends to holders of our common shares, we may change our dividend policy at any time. Our net cash provided by operating activities has been less than the amount of distributions to our shareholders. The declaration and payment of dividends to holders of our common shares will be at the discretion of our board of directors in accordance with applicable law after taking into account various factors, including actual results of operations,
liquidity and financial condition, net cash provided by operating activities, restrictions imposed by applicable law, our taxable income, our operating expenses and other factors our board of directors deem relevant. Our long term goal is to maintain a payout ratio of between 50-60% of funds available for distribution, with remaining amounts used primarily to fund our future acquisitions and opportunities. There can be no assurance that we will continue to pay dividends in amounts or on a basis consistent with prior distributions to our investors, if at all. Because we are a holding company and have no direct operations, we will only be able to pay dividends from our available cash on hand and any funds we receive from our subsidiaries and our ability to receive distributions from our subsidiaries may be limited by the financing agreements to which they are subject. In addition, pursuant to the Partnership Agreement, the General Partner will be entitled to receive incentive allocations before any amounts are distributed by us based both on our consolidated net income and capital gains income in each fiscal quarter and for each fiscal year, respectively. Furthermore, the terms of our Series A preferred shares generally prevent us from declaring or paying dividends on or repurchasing our common shares or other junior capital unless all accrued distributions on such preferred shares have been paid in full.
Anti-takeover provisions in our operating agreement and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change in control.
Provisions in our operating agreement may make it more difficult and expensive for a third party to acquire control of us even if a change of control would be beneficial to the interests of our shareholders. For example, our operating agreement provides for a staggered board, requires advance notice for proposals by shareholders and nominations, places limitations on convening shareholder meetings, and authorizes the issuance of preferred shares that could be issued by our board of directors to thwart a takeover attempt. In addition, certain provisions of Delaware law may delay or prevent a transaction that could cause a change in our control. The market price of our shares could be adversely affected to the extent that provisions of our operating agreement discourage potential takeover attempts that our shareholders may favor.
There are certain provisions in our operating agreement regarding exculpation and indemnification of our officers and directors that differ from the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) in a manner that may be less protective of the interests of our shareholders.
Our operating agreement provides that to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law our directors or officers will not be liable to us. Under the DGCL, a director or officer would be liable to us for (i) breach of duty of loyalty to us or our shareholders, (ii) intentional misconduct or knowing violations of the law that are not done in good faith, (iii) improper redemption of shares or declaration of dividend, or (iv) a transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit. In addition, our operating agreement provides that we indemnify our directors and officers for acts or omissions to the fullest extent provided by law. Under the DGCL, a corporation can only indemnify directors and officers for acts or omissions if the director or officer acted in good faith, in a manner he reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the corporation, and, in criminal action, if the officer or director had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. Accordingly, our operating agreement may be less protective of the interests of our shareholders, when compared to the DGCL, insofar as it relates to the exculpation and indemnification of our officers and directors.
As a public company, we will incur additional costs and face increased demands on our management.
As a relatively new public company with shares listed on the NYSE, we need to comply with an extensive body of regulations that did not apply to us previously, including certain provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, regulations of the SEC and requirements of the NYSE. These rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, as a result of becoming a public company, we have independent directors and board committees. In addition, we may continue to incur additional costs associated with maintaining directors’ and officers’ liability insurance and with the termination of our status as an emerging growth company as of the end of 2017. Because we are no longer an emerging growth company, we are subject to the independent auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and enhanced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules, which may impose additional costs on us and have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they downgrade their recommendations regarding our common shares, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common shares are influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. If any of the analysts who cover us downgrades our common units or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our common share price may decline. If analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our common share price or trading volume to decline and our common shares to be less liquid.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
We have no unresolved staff comments.
Item 2. Properties
An affiliate of our Manager leases principal executive offices at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10105. We also lease office space from an affiliate of our Manager in Ireland and Dubai. Our Jefferson Terminal operating segment leases approximately 200 acres of property for its terminal facilities and leases approximately 12,300 square feet of office space in Texas and 300 square feet in Canada. We are redeveloping Repauno, located in New Jersey, which includes over 1,600 acres of land, riparian rights, rail tracks and a 186,000 barrel underground storage cavern, to be a multi-purpose, multi-modal deepwater port. Additionally, our aviation leasing business, railcar cleaning business and offshore energy business lease office space in Florida, Maine, and Singapore, respectively. We believe that our office facilities and properties are suitable and adequate for our business as it is contemplated to be conducted.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are and may become involved in legal proceedings, including but not limited to regulatory investigations and inquiries, in the ordinary course of our business. Although we are unable to predict with certainty the eventual outcome of any litigation, regulatory investigation or inquiry, in the opinion of management, we do not expect our current and any threatened legal proceedings to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position or results of operations. Given the inherent unpredictability of these types of proceedings, however, it is possible that future adverse outcomes could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common shares began trading on the NYSE under the symbol “FTAI” on May 15, 2015, the date of the IPO. As of February 25, 2021, there were approximately ten record holders of our common shares. This figure does not reflect the beneficial ownership of shares held in nominee name.
Although we currently intend to continue to pay regular quarterly dividends to holders of our common shares, we may change our dividend policy at any time and no assurances can be given that any future dividends will be paid or, if paid, as to the amounts or timing. The declaration and payment of dividends to holders of our common shares will be at the discretion of our board of directors in accordance with applicable law after taking into account various factors, including actual results of operations, liquidity and financial condition, net cash provided by operating activities, restrictions imposed by applicable law, our taxable income, our operating expenses and other factors our board of directors deem relevant.
On February 25, 2021, our Board of Directors declared a cash dividend on our common shares of $0.33 per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2020, payable on March 23, 2021 to the holders of record on March 12, 2021.
Nonqualified Stock Option and Incentive Award Plan
In 2015, in connection with the IPO, we established a Nonqualified Stock Option and Incentive Award Plan (“Incentive Plan”) which provides for the ability to award equity compensation awards in the form of stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, and performance awards to eligible employees, consultants, directors, and other individuals who provide services to us, each as determined by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors. As of December 31, 2020, the Incentive Plan provides for the issuance of up to 29.9 million shares.
The following table summarizes the total number of outstanding securities in the Incentive Plan and the number of securities remaining for future issuance, as well as the weighted average strike price of all outstanding securities as of December 31, 2020.
|Equity Compensation Plan Information|
|Plan category||Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants, and rights ||Weighted-average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants, and rights |
Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (1)
|Equity compensation plans approved by security holders||2,243,692 ||$||17.01 ||29,854,909 |
|Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders||— ||— ||— |
|Total||2,243,692 ||29,854,909 |
(1) Excludes 25,000 stock options and 120,091 common shares issued to directors as compensation.
The following graph compares the cumulative total return for our common shares (stock price change plus reinvested dividends) with the comparable return of three indices: S&P Mid Cap 400, Dow Jones US Transportation Services, and Alerian MLP. The graph assumes an investment of $100 in our common shares and in each of the indices on December 31, 2015, and that all dividends were reinvested. The past performance of our shares is not an indication of future performance.
COMPARISON OF CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Fortress Transportation & Infrastructure Investors LLC, the S&P Midcap 400 Index, the Dow Jones US Transportation Services Index and Alerian MLP
*$100 each invested on December 31, 2015 in stock and index, including reinvestment of dividends. Fiscal year ending December 31.
|(in whole dollars)||December 31,|
|Fortress Transportation & Infrastructure Investors LLC||$||100.00 ||$||133.19 ||$||216.06 ||$||168.13 ||$||248.60 ||$||332.80 |
|S&P Midcap 400||100.00 ||120.74 ||140.35 ||124.80 ||157.49 ||179.00 |
|Dow Jones US Transportation Services||100.00 ||126.52 ||164.29 ||99.38 ||134.77 ||161.47 |
|Alerian MLP||100.00 ||118.31 ||110.59 ||96.86 ||103.21 ||73.60 |
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The selected historical financial information set forth below as of and for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 has been derived from our audited historical consolidated financial statements.
The information below should be read in conjunction with “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” included in Item 7 and the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in Item 8 in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
As of and for the year ended December 31,
|(in thousands except share and per share data)||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016|
|Equipment leasing revenues||$||297,934 ||$||349,322 ||$||253,039 ||$||170,000 ||$||101,949 |
|Infrastructure revenues||68,562 ||229,452 ||89,073 ||15,052 ||15,934 |
|Total revenues||366,496 ||578,774 ||342,112 ||185,052 ||117,883 |
|Total expenses||460,642 ||631,493 ||367,143 ||223,898 ||157,503 |
|Total other (expense) income||(16,782)||204,851 ||7,374 ||18,297 ||(1,315)|
|(Loss) income from continuing operations before income taxes||(110,928)||152,132 ||(17,657)||(20,549)||(40,935)|
|(Benefit from) provision for income taxes||(5,905)||17,810 ||2,449 ||1,954 ||268 |
|Net (loss) income from continuing operations||(105,023)||134,322 ||(20,106)||(22,503)||(41,203)|
|Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of income taxes||1,331 ||73,462 ||4,402 ||(737)||605 |
|Net (loss) income||(103,692)||207,784 ||(15,704)||(23,240)||(40,598)|
|Less: Net (loss) income attributable to non-controlling interest in consolidated subsidiaries:|
|Discontinued operations||— ||247 ||339 ||(70)||23 |
|Dividends on preferred shares||17,869 ||1,838 ||— ||— ||— |
|Net (loss) income attributable to shareholders||$||(105,039)||$||223,270 ||$||5,882 ||$||134 ||$||(20,064)|
|(Loss) earnings per share:|
|Continuing operations||$||(1.24)||$||1.74 ||$||0.02 ||$||0.01 ||$||(0.27)|
|Discontinued operations||$||0.02 ||$||0.85 ||$||0.05 ||$||(0.01)||$||0.01 |
|Continuing operations||$||(1.24)||$||1.74 ||$||0.02 ||$||0.01 ||$||(0.27)|
|Discontinued operations||$||0.02 ||$||0.85 ||$||0.05 ||$||(0.01)||$||0.01 |
|Weighted average shares outstanding:|
|Basic||86,015,702 ||85,992,019 ||83,654,068 ||75,766,811 ||75,738,698 |
|Diluted||86,015,702 ||86,029,363 ||83,664,833 ||75,766,811 ||75,738,698 |
|Dividends declared per share of common stock||$||1.32 ||$||1.32 ||$||1.32 ||$||1.32 ||$||1.32 |
As of and for the year ended December 31,
|(in thousands except share and per share data)||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016|
|Balance Sheet data:|
|Total assets||$||3,387,977 ||$||3,236,922 ||$||2,638,778 ||$||1,955,806 ||$||1,547,312 |
|Debt, net||1,904,762 ||1,420,928 ||1,215,108 ||680,751 ||247,357 |
|Total liabilities||2,288,656 ||1,898,065 ||1,584,996 ||920,731 ||381,632 |
|Total equity||1,099,321 ||1,338,857 ||1,053,782 ||1,035,075 ||1,165,680 |
|Cash Flow data: |
|Net cash provided by (used in):|
|Operating activities||$||63,106 ||$||151,043 ||$||133,697 ||$||68,497 ||$||30,903 |
|Financing activities||364,918 ||465,873 ||597,867 ||363,078 ||(89,971)|
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is intended to help you understand Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC. Our MD&A should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes, and with Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
A discussion of our results of operations and cash flows for 2019 compared to 2018 is included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, under Part II, Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
We own and acquire high quality infrastructure and related equipment that is essential for the transportation of goods and people globally. We target assets that, on a combined basis, generate strong cash flows with potential for earnings growth and asset appreciation. We believe that there is a large number of acquisition opportunities in our markets, and that our Manager’s expertise and business and financing relationships, together with our access to capital, will allow us to take advantage of these opportunities. We are externally managed by the Manager, an affiliate of Fortress, which has a dedicated team of experienced professionals focused on the acquisition of transportation and infrastructure assets since 2002. As of December 31, 2020, we had total consolidated assets of $3.4 billion and total equity of $1.1 billion.
While our strategy permits us to acquire a broad array of transportation-related assets, we are currently active in four sectors where we believe there are meaningful opportunities to deploy capital to achieve attractive risk adjusted returns: aviation, energy, intermodal transport and ports and terminals.
•Commercial air travel and air freight activity have historically been long-term growth sectors and are tied to the underlying demand for passenger and freight movement. We continue to see long-term demand for aviation related assets.
•Offshore energy service equipment refers to vessels supporting the extraction, processing and transportation of oil and natural gas from deposits located beneath the sea floor, as well as the ongoing inspection, repair, maintenance and ultimate abandonment of subsea wells and associated infrastructure. The prolonged oil price decline has led to oil and gas companies reducing and deferring spending decisions, creating an oversupply of offshore energy assets, and in turn, lower day-rates, utilization and earnings for offshore service companies. These rates, however, have partially rebounded over the course of the past three years.
•The intermodal transport market includes the efficient movement of goods throughout multiple modes of transportation, making it possible to move cargo from a point of origin to a final destination without repeated unpacking and repacking. Over the last year, new container prices have increased significantly.
•Land-based infrastructure refers to facilities that enable the storage, unloading, loading and movement of crude oil and refined products from producers to end users, such as refineries. Customers of land-based infrastructure typically purchase capacity on a take-or-pay basis, and the economics of these assets directly relate to the volume of throughput.
Impact of COVID-19
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we have taken measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, including having employees work remotely, where possible. Market conditions due to the outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in asset impairment charges and a decline in our equipment leasing revenues during the year ended December 31, 2020. A number of our lessees continue to experience increased financial stress due to the significant decline in travel demand, particularly as various regions experience spikes in COVID-19 cases. A number of these lessees have been placed on non-accrual status as of December 31, 2020; however, we believe our overall portfolio exposure is limited by maintenance reserves and security deposits which are secured against lessee defaults. The value of these deposits was $185.4 million as of December 31, 2020. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration, severity and spread of the pandemic, as well as additional waves of COVID-19 infections and the ultimate impact of related restrictions imposed by the U.S. and international governments, all of which remain uncertain. For additional detail, see Liquidity and Capital Resources and Item 1A. Risk Factors—“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the global economy and may have, and the emergence of similar crises could have, material adverse effects on our business, results of operations or financial condition.”
Our operations consist of two primary strategic business units – Infrastructure and Equipment Leasing. Our Infrastructure Business acquires long-lived assets that provide mission-critical services or functions to transportation networks and typically have high barriers to entry. We target or develop operating businesses with strong margins, stable cash flows and upside from earnings growth and asset appreciation driven by increased use and inflation. Our Equipment Leasing Business acquires assets that are designed to carry cargo or people or provide functionality to transportation infrastructure. Transportation equipment assets are typically long-lived, moveable and leased by us on either operating leases or finance leases to companies that provide transportation services. Our leases generally provide for long-term contractual cash flow with high cash-on-cash yields and include structural protections to mitigate credit risk.
Our reportable segments are comprised of interests in different types of infrastructure and equipment leasing assets. We currently conduct our business through the following three reportable segments: (i) Aviation Leasing, which is within the Equipment Leasing Business, and (ii) Jefferson Terminal and (iii) Ports and Terminals, which together comprise our Infrastructure Business. The Aviation Leasing segment consists of aircraft and aircraft engines held for lease and are typically held long-term. The Jefferson Terminal segment consists of a multi-modal crude and refined products terminal and other related assets. The Ports and Terminals segment consists of Repauno, a 1,630 acre deep-water port located along the Delaware River with an underground storage cavern and multiple industrial development opportunities. Additionally, Ports and Terminals includes an equity method investment (“Long Ridge”), which is a 1,660 acre multi-modal port located along the Ohio River with rail, dock, and multiple industrial development opportunities, including a power plant under construction.
In December 2019, we completed the sale of substantially all of our railroad business, which was formerly reported as our Railroad segment. Under ASC 205-20, this disposition met the criteria to be reported as discontinued operations and the assets, liabilities and results of operations have been presented as discontinued operations for all periods presented. Additionally, in accordance with ASC 280, we assessed our reportable segments and determined that our retained investment of the railroad business no longer met the requirement as a reportable segment. Accordingly, we have presented this operating segment, along with Corporate results, within Corporate and Other effective in 2019. All prior periods have been restated for historical comparison across segments.
Corporate and Other primarily consists of debt, unallocated corporate general and administrative expenses, and management fees. Additionally, Corporate and Other includes (i) offshore energy related assets which consist of vessels and equipment that support offshore oil and gas activities and are typically subject to long-term operating leases, (ii) an investment in an unconsolidated entity engaged in the leasing of shipping containers and (iii) railroad assets retained after the December 2019 sale, which consist of equipment that support a railcar cleaning business.
Our reportable segments are comprised of investments in different types of transportation infrastructure and equipment. Each segment requires different investment strategies. The accounting policies of the segments are the same as those described in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements; however, financial information presented by segment includes the impact of intercompany eliminations.
Aviation Leasing Organizational Restructuring
In early 2020, we completed an organizational restructuring of the Aviation Leasing segment. Previously, Aviation Leasing’s employees were employed by the Manager and compensation and related costs associated with these employees were reimbursed to the Manager, per the Management Agreement. These costs were reported within Corporate and Other.
Effective in the first quarter of 2020, Aviation Leasing’s employees are employed by one of our subsidiaries. Compensation and related costs incurred by this subsidiary are reported within the Aviation Leasing segment. Prior periods have been restated for historical comparison. See Note 17 to the consolidated financial statements for additional details.
Results of Operations
Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP)
The chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) utilizes Adjusted EBITDA as the key performance measure. Adjusted EBITDA is not a financial measure in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). This performance measure provides the CODM with the information necessary to assess operational performance, as well as making resource and allocation decisions. We believe Adjusted EBITDA is a useful metric for investors and analysts for similar purposes of assessing our operational performance.
Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income attributable to shareholders from continuing operations, adjusted (a) to exclude the impact of provision for (benefit from) income taxes, equity-based compensation expense, acquisition and transaction expenses, losses on the modification or extinguishment of debt and capital lease obligations, changes in fair value of non-hedge derivative instruments, asset impairment charges, incentive allocations, depreciation and amortization expense, and interest expense, (b) to include the impact of our pro-rata share of Adjusted EBITDA from unconsolidated entities and (c) to exclude the impact of equity in earnings (losses) of unconsolidated entities and the non-controlling share of Adjusted EBITDA.
The following table presents our consolidated results of operations:
|Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|(in thousands)||2020||2019||2018|| '20 vs '19|| '19 vs '18|
|Equipment leasing revenues|
|Lease income||$||177,476 ||$||207,101 ||$||157,190 ||$||(29,625)||$||49,911 |
|Maintenance revenue||101,462 ||134,914 ||89,870 ||(33,452)||45,044 |
|Finance lease income||2,260 ||2,648 ||3,349 ||(388)||(701)|
|Other revenue||16,736 ||4,659 ||2,630 ||12,077 ||2,029 |
|Total equipment leasing revenues||297,934 ||349,322 |