Extra Space Storage Inc. (NYSE:EXR), a real estate investment trust (REIT), offers a compelling and sustainable earnings and dividend growth in the near-to-midterm, coupled with a strong balance sheet.
In the last year, the REIT revamped its real estate portfolio via acquisitions and completion of development projects and strengthened its balance sheet through accretive debt refinancing and equity raises.
"While we have in the past been apprehensive about how quickly management strategy could be successfully implemented given the economic uncertainty in the U.S., we have been pleasantly surprised with the remarkably swift improvement in EXR's financial performance, as well as the core performance in EXR's same store (SS) real estate portfolio," Jefferies analyst Omotayo Okusanya wrote in a note to clients.
Extra Space's financial results would be benefited by 3-5 percent growth in street rates, 7-9 percent existing customer rate increases, acquisitions and burgeoning income from third-party management. Further, increasing occupancy in lease-up properties and growing pool of tenants in the insurance program is also expected to drive results.
"We expect 1) these growth levers, 2) continued expense management 3) accretive debt refinancing and 4) lack of new supply to drive 20%+ FFO/sh growth in 2012, and another 40% increase in the dividend in 2013," said Okusanya, who upgraded the shares to "buy" from "hold."
In mid-February, the REIT declared a first quarter 2012 common stock dividend of 20 cents a share, representing an increase of 42.9 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011.
On Feb.21, Extra Space Storage reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on strong revenue growth. The REIT reported funds from operations (FFO) of $34.4 million or 35 cents a share, compared with $23.9 million or 26 cents a share last year. Total revenues were $93.21 million, higher than $73.15 million last year. Analysts expected FFO of 31 cents a share on revenue of $81.09 million for the quarter.
Quarterly same-store revenue grew 5.8 percent from last year as occupancy increased 310 basis points to 87.8 percent. Street rates to new tenants rose about 4.5 percent.
For the first quarter, the REIT currently estimates that FFO per share of 31 cents and 33 cents a share, while analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect FFO of 32 cents a share. For the full year, the REIT expects FFO will be between $1.37 a share and $1.45 a share, while analysts currently expect full year 2012 profit of $1.38 a share.
The company's strong growth was supported by a healthy upward momentum in the share price. Since October, shares of Extra Space have increased 50 percent and are currently valued at 19.48 to its earnings. The industry price-to-earnings ratio stands at 14.34.
Shares of Extra Space Storage were down 1 cent to trade at $26.64 on the New York Stock Exchange.