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ARL > SEC Filings for ARL > Form 10-K on 8-Apr-2013All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for AMERICAN REALTY INVESTORS INC | Request a Trial to NEW EDGAR Online Pro

Form 10-K for AMERICAN REALTY INVESTORS INC


8-Apr-2013

Annual Report


ITEM 7. 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K 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 financing and the use of debt to fund acquisitions and developments;

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-K, including those described under the caption "Risk Factors."

The risks included here are not exhaustive. Other sections of this report, including Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors," include additional factors that could adversely affect our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all such risk factors 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 a prediction of actual results. Investors should also refer to our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for future periods and current reports on Form 8-K as we file them with the SEC, and to other materials we may furnish to the public from time to time through Forms 8-K or otherwise.

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 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 2012 we sold $99.2 million of land and income-producing properties. As of December 31, 2012, we owned 8,873 units in 48 residential apartment communities, 14 commercial properties comprising approximately 3.7 million rentable square feet. In addition, we own 4,657 acres of land held for development with 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.

Effective since April 30, 2011, Pillar is the Company's external Advisor and Cash Manager under a contractual arrangement that is reviewed annually by our Board of Directors. Pillar's duties include, but are not limited to, locating, evaluating and recommending real estate and real estate-related investment opportunities. Pillar also arranges, for TCI's benefit, debt and equity financing with third party lenders and investors. Pillar also serves as an Advisor and Cash Manager to TCI and IOT. As the contractual Advisor, Pillar is compensated by TCI under an Advisory Agreement that is more fully described in

Part III, Item 10. "Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance - The
Advisor". ARL has no employees. Employees of Pillar render services to ARL in accordance with the terms of the Advisory Agreement. Prior to April 30, 2011, the Company was advised by Prime.

Effective since January 1, 2011, Regis manages our commercial properties and provides brokerage services. Regis is entitled to receive a fee for its property management and brokerage services. See Part III, Item 10. "Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance - Property Management and Real Estate Brokerage". Prior to December 31, 2010, Triad provided management services for our commercial properties. Triad sub-contracted the property-level management and leasing of our commercial properties to Regis I. The Company contracts with third-party companies to lease and manage our apartment communities.

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 September 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 investment in Gruppa Florentina, LLC is accounted for under the equity method. Our investments in Garden Centura, L.P. and LK-Four Hickory, LLC were accounted for under the equity method until December 28, 2011and January 17, 2012, respectively, when the investments were sold.

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.

Sales to our subsidiary, TCI, have previously been reflected at the fair value sale price. Upon discussion with the SEC and in review of the guidance pursuant to ASC 250-10-45-22 to 24, we have adjusted those assets, in the prior year, to reflect a basis equal to ARL's cost basis in the asset at the time of the sale. The related party payables to ARL were reduced for the lower asset price. The Company reflected the original cost basis in consolidation, therefore no change in the financial statements were necessary to reflect this change.

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 direct project costs incurred during the period of development.

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 consider a construction project as substantially completed and held available for occupancy upon the receipt of certificates of occupancy, but no later than one year from cessation of major construction activity. We cease capitalization on the portion (1) substantially completed and (2) occupied or held available for occupancy, and we capitalize only those costs associated with the portion under construction.


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. Fair value is determined by a recent appraisal, comparables based upon prices for similar assets, executed sales contract, a present value and/or a valuation technique based upon a multiple of earnings or revenue. 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. If we determine that impairment has occurred, the affected assets must be reduced to their face value.

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.

Any properties that are treated as "subject to sales contract" on the Consolidated Balance Sheets and are listed in detail in Schedule III, "Real Estate and Accumulated Depreciation" are those in which we have not recognized the legal sale according to the guidance in ASC 360-20 due to various factors, disclosed in each sale transaction under Item 1 Significant Real Estate Acquisitions/Dispositions and Financing. Any sale transaction that did not meet the requirements according to ASC 360-20 to record the sale, the asset involved in the transaction, including the debt and property operations, remained on the books of the Company. We continue to charge depreciation to expense as a period costs for the property until such time as the property has been classified as held for sale in accordance with guidance reflected in ASC 360-10-45 "Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets".

Investment 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

We record interest income as earned in accordance with the terms of the related loan agreements. Prior to January 1, 2012, on cash flow notes where payments are based upon surplus cash from operations, accrued but unpaid interest income was only recognized to the extent that cash was received. As of January 1, 2012, due to the consistency of cash received on the surplus cash notes, we are recording interest as earned.

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.

Related parties

We apply ASC Topic 805, "Business Combinations", to evaluate business relationships. Related parties are persons or entities who have one or more of the following characteristics, which include entities for which investments in their equity securities would be required, trust for the benefit of persons including principal owners of the entities and members of their immediate families, management personnel of the entity and members of their immediate families and other parties with which the entity may deal if one party controls or can significantly influence the decision making of the other to an extent that one of the transacting parties might be prevented from fully pursuing its own separate interests, or affiliates of the entity.


Results of Operations

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