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ARL > SEC Filings for ARL > Form 10-Q on 14-Nov-2011All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-Q for AMERICAN REALTY INVESTORS INC


14-Nov-2011

Quarterly Report


ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this report.

This Report on Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, principally, but not only, under the captions "Business", "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". We caution investors that any forward-looking statements in this report, or which management may make orally or in writing from time to time, are based on management's beliefs and on assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. When used, the words "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "intend", "may", "might", "plan", "estimate", "project", "should", "will", "result" and similar expressions which do not relate solely to historical matters are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions and are not guarantees of future performance, which may be affected by known and unknown risks, trends, uncertainties, and factors, that are beyond our control. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, or projected. We caution you that, while forward-looking statements reflect our good faith beliefs when we make them, they are not guarantees of future performance and are impacted by actual events when they occur after we make such statements. We expressly disclaim any responsibility to update our forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Accordingly, investors should use caution in relying on past forward-looking statements, which are based on results and trends at the time they are made, to anticipate future results or trends.

Some of the risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements include, among others, the following:

general risks affecting the real estate industry (including, without limitation, the inability to enter into or renew leases, dependence on tenants' financial condition, and competition from other developers, owners and operators of real estate);

risks associated with the availability and terms of construction and mortgage financing and the use of debt to fund acquisitions and developments;

demand for apartments and commercial properties in the Company's markets and the effect on occupancy and rental rates;

the Company's ability to obtain financing, enter into joint venture arrangements in relation to or self-fund the development or acquisition of properties;

risks associated with the timing and amount of property sales and the resulting gains/losses associated with such sales;

failure to manage effectively our growth and expansion into new markets or to integrate acquisitions successfully;

risks and uncertainties affecting property development and construction (including, without limitation, construction delays, cost overruns, inability to obtain necessary permits and public opposition to such activities);

risks associated with downturns in the national and local economies, increases in interest rates, and volatility in the securities markets;

costs of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other similar laws and regulations;

potential liability for uninsured losses and environmental contamination;

risks associated with our dependence on key personnel whose continued service is not guaranteed; and

the other risk factors identified in this Form 10-Q, including those described under the caption "Risk Factors."

The risks included here are not exhaustive. Some of the risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements, include among others, the factors listed and described at Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, which investors should review. There have been no changes from the risk factors previously described in the Company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010.

Other sections of this report may also include suggested factors that could adversely affect our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks emerge from time-to-time and it is not possible for management to predict all such matters:
nor can we assess the impact of all such matter on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as prediction of actual results. Investors should also refer to our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for future periods and to other materials we may furnish to the public from time to time through Forms 8-K or otherwise as we file them with the SEC.


Overview

We are an externally advised and managed real estate investment company that owns a diverse portfolio of income-producing properties, and land held for development. Our portfolio of income-producing properties includes residential apartment communities, office buildings, hotels, a trade mart located in Denver, Colorado, and other commercial properties. Our investment strategy includes acquiring existing income-producing properties as well as developing new properties on land already owned or acquired for a specific development project. We acquire land primarily in urban in-fill locations or high-growth suburban markets. We are an active buyer and seller of real estate and during the first nine months of 2011 we sold $328.9 million of land and income-producing properties. As of September 30, 2011, we owned 9,027 units in 49 residential apartment communities, 21 commercial properties comprising almost 4.5 million rentable square feet and one hotel containing a total of 161 rooms. In addition, we owned 5,983 acres of land held for development with one apartment complex and a 420-acre holiday resort project in Germany currently in development.

We finance our acquisitions primarily through operating cash flow, proceeds from the sale of land and income-producing properties, and debt financing primarily in the form of property-specific first-lien mortgage loans from commercial banks and institutional lenders. We finance our development projects principally with short-term, variable interest rate construction loans that are converted to long-term, fixed rate amortizing mortgages when the development project is completed and occupancy has been stabilized. We will, from time to time, also enter into partnerships with various investors to acquire income-producing properties or land and to sell interests in certain of our wholly owned properties. When we sell assets, we may carry a portion of the sales price generally in the form of a short-term, interest bearing seller-financed note receivable. We generate operating revenues primarily by leasing apartment units to residents; leasing office, retail and industrial space to commercial tenants; and renting hotel rooms to guests.

We have historically engaged in and may continue to engage in certain business transactions with related parties, including but not limited to asset acquisition and dispositions. Transactions involving related parties cannot be presumed to be carried out on an arm's length basis due to the absence of free market forces that naturally exist in business dealings between two or more unrelated entities. Related party transactions may not always be favorable to our business and may include terms, conditions and agreements that are not necessarily beneficial to or in our best interest.

Prior to April 30, 2011, Prime Income Asset Management, LLC ("Prime") was the Company's external Advisor and Cash Manager. Prime also served as an Advisor and Cash Manager to TCI and IOT. Effective April 30, 2011, Pillar Income Asset Management, Inc. ("Pillar") became the Company's external Advisor and Cash Manager under the same terms as the previous agreement with Prime. Pillar also serves as an Advisor and Cash Manager to TCI and IOT. Prior to December 31, 2010, Triad Realty Services, L.P. ("Triad") managed the Company's commercial properties and Regis Realty I, LLC ("Regis Realty") provided brokerage services. Triad and Regis Realty are affiliates of Prime. Effective January 1, 2011, Regis Realty Prime, LLC ("Regis"), an affiliate of Prime, manages our commercial properties and provides brokerage services under the same terms as the previous agreements with Triad and Regis Realty, for a term of five years. We engage third-party companies to lease and manage our apartment properties.

Critical Accounting Policies

We present our financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States ("GAAP"). In June 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") completed its accounting guidance codification project. The FASB Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") became effective for our financial statements issued subsequent to June 30, 2009 and is the single source of authoritative accounting principles recognized by the FASB to be applied by nongovernmental entities in the preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP. As of the effective date, we no longer refer to the authoritative guidance dictating our accounting methodologies under the previous accounting standards hierarchy. Instead, we refer to the ASC guidance as the sole source of authoritative literature.

The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements include our accounts, our subsidiaries, generally all of which are wholly-owned, and all entities in which we have a controlling interest. Arrangements that are not controlled through voting or similar rights are accounted for as a Variable Interest Entity (VIE), in accordance with the provisions and guidance of ASC Topic 810 "Consolidation", whereby we have determined that we are a primary beneficiary of the VIE and meet certain criteria of a sole general partner or managing member as identified in accordance with Emerging Issues Task Force ("EITF") Issue 04-5, Investor's Accounting for an Investment in a Limited Partnership when the Investor is the Sole General Partner and the Limited Partners have Certain Rights ("EITF 04-5"). VIEs are generally entities that lack sufficient equity to finance their activities without additional financial support from other parties or whose equity holders as a group lack adequate decision making ability, the obligation to absorb expected losses or residual returns of the entity, or have voting rights that are not proportional to their economic interests. The primary beneficiary generally is the entity that provides financial support and bears a majority of the financial risks, authorizes certain capital transactions, or makes operating decisions that materially affect the entity's financial results. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

In determining whether we are the primary beneficiary of a VIE, we consider qualitative and quantitative factors, including, but not limited to: the amount and characteristics of our investment; the obligation or likelihood for us or other investors to provide financial support; our and the other investors' ability to control or significantly influence key decisions for the VIE; and the similarity with and significance to the business activities of us and the other investors. Significant judgments related to these determinations include estimates about the current future fair values and performance of real estate held by these VIEs and general market conditions.


For entities in which we have less than a controlling financial interest or entities where we are not deemed to be the primary beneficiary, the entities are accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Accordingly, our share of the net earnings or losses of these entities are included in consolidated net income. Our investments in Gruppa Florentina, LLC, LK-Four Hickory, LLC, and Garden Centura, L.P. are accounted for under the equity method.

Real Estate

Upon acquisitions of real estate, we assess the fair value of acquired tangible and intangible assets, including land, buildings, tenant improvements, "above-market" and "below-market" leases, origination costs, acquired in-place leases, other identified intangible assets and assumed liabilities in accordance with ASC Topic 805 "Business Combinations", and allocate the purchase price to the acquired assets and assumed liabilities, including land at appraised value and buildings at replacement cost.

We assess and consider fair value based on estimated cash flow projections that utilize appropriate discount and/or capitalization rates, as well as available market information. Estimates of future cash flows are based on a number of factors including the historical operating results, known and anticipated trends, and market and economic conditions. The fair value of the tangible assets of an acquired property considers the value of the property as if it were vacant. We also consider an allocation of purchase price of other acquired intangibles, including acquired in-place leases that may have a customer relationship intangible value, including (but not limited to) the nature and extent of the existing relationship with the tenants, the tenants' credit quality and expectations of lease renewals. Based on our acquisitions to date, our allocation to customer relationship intangible assets has been immaterial.

We record acquired "above-market" and "below-market" leases at their fair values (using a discount rate which reflects the risks associated with the leases acquired) equal to the difference between (1) the contractual amounts to be paid pursuant to each in-place lease and (2) management's estimate of fair market lease rates for each corresponding in-place lease, measured over a period equal to the remaining term of the lease for above-market leases and the initial term plus the term of any below-market fixed rate renewal options for below-market leases.

Other intangible assets acquired include amounts for in-place lease values that are based on our evaluation of the specific characteristics of each tenant's lease. Factors to be considered include estimates of carrying costs during hypothetical expected lease-up periods considering current market conditions, and costs to execute similar leases. In estimating carrying costs, we include real estate taxes, insurance and other operating expenses and estimates of lost rentals at market rates during the expected lease-up periods, depending on local market conditions. In estimating costs to execute similar leases, we consider leasing commissions, legal and other related expenses.

Depreciation and Impairment

Real estate is stated at depreciated cost. The cost of buildings and improvements includes the purchase price of property, legal fees and other acquisition costs. Costs directly related to the development of properties are capitalized. Capitalized development costs include interest, property taxes, insurance, and other project costs incurred during the period of development.

Management reviews its long-lived assets used in operations for impairment when there is an event or change in circumstances that indicates impairment in value. An impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of its assets is not recoverable and exceeds its fair value. If such impairment is present, an impairment loss is recognized based on the excess of the carrying amount of the asset over its fair value. The evaluation of anticipated cash flows is highly subjective and is based in part on assumptions regarding future occupancy, rental rates and capital requirements that could differ materially from actual results in future periods.

ASC Topic 360 "Property, Plant and Equipment" requires that qualifying assets and liabilities and the results of operations that have been sold, or otherwise qualify as held for sale, be presented as discontinued operations in all periods presented if the property operations are expected to be eliminated and we will not have significant continuing involvement following the sale. The components of the property's net income that is reflected as discontinued operations include the net gain (or loss) upon the disposition of the property held for sale, operating results, depreciation and interest expense (if the property is subject to a secured loan). We generally consider assets to be held for sale when the transaction has been approved by our Board of Directors, or a committee thereof, and there are no known significant contingencies relating to the sale, such that the property sale within one year is considered probable. Following the classification of a property as held for sale, no further depreciation is recorded on the assets.

A variety of costs are incurred in the acquisition, development and leasing of properties. After determination is made to capitalize a cost, it is allocated to the specific component of a project that is benefited. Determination of when a development project is substantially complete and capitalization must cease involves a degree of judgment. Our capitalization policy on development properties is guided by ASC Topic 835-20 "Interest - Capitalization of Interest" and ASC Topic 970 "Real Estate - General". The costs of land and buildings under development include specifically identifiable costs. The capitalized costs include pre-construction costs essential to the development of the property, development costs, construction costs, interest costs, real estate taxes, salaries and related costs and other costs incurred during the period of development. We cease capitalization when a building is considered substantially complete and ready for its intended use, but no later than one year from the cessation of major construction activity.


Investments in Unconsolidated Real Estate Ventures

Except for ownership interests in variable interest entities, we account for our investments in unconsolidated real estate ventures under the equity method of accounting because we exercise significant influence over, but do not control, these entities. These investments are recorded initially at cost, as investments in unconsolidated real estate ventures, and subsequently adjusted for equity in earnings and cash contributions and distributions. Any difference between the carrying amount of these investments on our balance sheet and the underlying equity in net assets is amortized as an adjustment to equity in earnings of unconsolidated real estate ventures over the life of the related asset. Under the equity method of accounting, our net equity is reflected within the Consolidated Balance Sheets, and our share of net income or loss from the joint ventures is included within the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The joint venture agreements may designate different percentage allocations among investors for profits and losses; however, our recognition of joint venture income or loss generally follows the joint venture's distribution priorities, which may change upon the achievement of certain investment return thresholds. For ownership interests in variable interest entities, we consolidate those in which we are the primary beneficiary.

Recognition of Rental Income

Rental income for commercial property leases is recognized on a straight-line basis over the respective lease terms. In accordance with ASC Topic 805 "Business Combinations", we recognize rental revenue of acquired in-place "above-market" and "below-market" leases at their fair values over the terms of the respective leases. On our Consolidated Balance Sheets, we include as a receivable the excess of rental income recognized over rental payments actually received pursuant to the terms of the individual commercial lease agreements.

Reimbursements of operating costs, as allowed under most of our commercial tenant leases, consist of amounts due from tenants for common area maintenance, real estate taxes and other recoverable costs, and are recognized as revenue in the period in which the recoverable expenses are incurred. We record these reimbursements on a "gross" basis, since we generally are the primary obligor with respect to purchasing goods and services from third-party suppliers, have discretion in selecting the supplier and have the credit risk with respect to paying the supplier.

Rental income for residential property leases is recorded when due from residents and is recognized monthly as earned, which is not materially different than on a straight-line basis as lease terms are generally for periods of one year or less. For hotel properties, revenues for room sales and guest services are recognized as rooms are occupied and services are rendered. An allowance for doubtful accounts is recorded for all past due rents and operating expense reimbursements considered to be uncollectible.

Revenue Recognition on the Sale of Real Estate

Sales and the associated gains or losses of real estate are recognized in accordance with the provisions of ASC Topic 360-20, "Property, Plant and Equipment - Real Estate Sale". The specific timing of a sale is measured against various criteria in ASC 360-20 related to the terms of the transaction and any continuing involvement in the form of management or financial assistance associated with the properties. If the sales criteria for the full accrual method are not met, we defer some or all of the gain recognition and account for the continued operations of the property by applying the finance, leasing, deposit, installment or cost recovery methods, as appropriate, until the sales criteria are met.

Non-performing Notes Receivable

We consider a note receivable to be non-performing when the maturity date has passed without principal repayment and the borrower is not making interest payments in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

Interest Recognition on Notes Receivable

For notes other than surplus cash notes, we record interest income as earned in accordance with the terms of the related loan agreements. On cash flow notes where payments are based upon surplus cash from operations, accrued but unpaid interest income is only recognized to the extent that cash is received.

Allowance for Estimated Losses

We assess the collectability of notes receivable on a periodic basis, of which the assessment consists primarily of an evaluation of cash flow projections of the borrower to determine whether estimated cash flows are sufficient to repay principal and interest in accordance with the contractual terms of the note. We recognize impairments on notes receivable when it is probable that principal and interest will not be received in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan. The amount of the impairment to be recognized generally is based on the fair value of the partnership's real estate that represents the primary source of loan repayment. See Note 3 "Notes and Interest Receivable" for details on our notes receivable.


Fair Value of Financial Instruments

We apply the guidance in ASC Topic 820, "Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures," to the valuation of real estate assets. These provisions define fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in a transaction between market participants at the measurement date, establish a hierarchy that prioritizes the information used in developing fair value estimates and require disclosure of fair value measurements by level within the fair value hierarchy. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets (Level 1 measurements) and the lowest priority to unobservable data (Level 3 measurements), such as the reporting entity's own data.

The valuation hierarchy is based upon the transparency of inputs to the valuation of an asset or liability as of the measurement date and includes three levels defined as follows:

Level 1 -   Unadjusted quoted prices for identical and unrestricted assets or
            liabilities in active markets.
Level 2 -   Quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, and
            inputs that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly
            or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the financial
            instrument.
Level 3 -   Unobservable inputs that are significant to the fair value measurement.

A financial instrument's categorization within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.

Results of Operations

The discussion of our results of operations is based on management's review of operations, which is based on our segments. Our segments consist of apartments, commercial buildings, hotels, land and other. For discussion purposes, we break these segments down into the following sub-categories; same property portfolio, acquired properties, and developed properties in the lease-up phase. The same property portfolio consists of properties that were held by us for the entire period for both years being compared. The acquired property portfolio consists of properties that we acquired but have not been held for the entire period for both periods being compared. Developed properties in the lease-up phase consist of completed projects that are being leased up. As we complete each phase of the project, we lease-up that phase and include those revenues in our continued operations. Once a developed property becomes leased up and is held the entire period for both periods under comparison, it is considered to be included in the same property portfolio. Income producing properties that we have sold during the year are reclassified to discontinuing operations for all periods presented.

The following discussion is based on our Consolidated Statements of Operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2011 and 2010 as included in Part I, Item 1. "Financial Statements" of this report. The prior year's property portfolios have been adjusted for subsequent sales. Continued operations relates to income producing properties that were held during those years as adjusted for sales in the subsequent years.

At September 30, 2011 and 2010, we owned or had interests in a portfolio of 71 and 86 income producing properties, respectively. For discussion purposes, we broke this out between continuing operations and discontinued operations. The total property portfolio represents all income producing properties held as of September 30 for the period presented. Sales subsequent to quarter end represent properties that were held as of period end for the periods presented, but sold in the next quarter. Continuing operations represents all properties that have not been reclassed to discontinued operations as of September 30, 2011 for the periods presented. The table below shows the number of income producing properties held at the quarter ended:

                                                   September 30,
                                               2011              2010
. . .
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