Mar 8, 2009

Corporate blogging: Lesson one.

I must confess that I am surprised by the number of direct comments or emails that are arriving at alstria following the recent start of the blog. I would not have expected to have so many people reading it. So thanks for your time and your interest.

One of the issues of having this blog is reflected in the comment of Thomas on my previous post (see the comment here). I do realize that it is hard to make the difference between alstria specific situation and general market comments. I will need to break my oath to Isabelle (which is alstria General Counsel) and will from now on address Thomas concerns even if it means discussing from time to time alstria’s specific. After all he is right to say that I am still writing this as a management board member of a listed company.

Thomas is also absolutely right to mention that alstria do not have any CMBS loan (for the reason mention in my previous post we have chosen to go the balance sheet loan route), not it have any short term refinancing need, its next refinancing date coming due at the end of 2011. I trust that, our view on how the CMBS market is likely to evolve in the coming years is well know to investor that speak to us on a regular basis. We have been making this analysis since the summer last year in numerous roadshow presentation or real estate conferences. This same analysis led us to fully disclose the way we are looking to address the November 2011 refinancing in our Q2 analyst call last year (a replay of the call is available here), making alstria one of the early companies to address and disclose LTV, and refinancing topics.

This is my quote in alstria’s latest press release addressing the matter, following our LTV covenant renegotiation (full press release available here) which summarize my position when it comes to alstria's addressing it future, end 2011, refinancing needs

“Since the first quarter 2008, alstria has been working on managing its balance sheet in anticipation of the market development. A deleveraging process can be highly destructive of value for shareholders if implemented too quickly or in a disorganized manner. We have built up in 2008 through selective asset sales and refinancing the room necessary in order to meet our covenants at year end. The signing of the loan amendment that we announced today allows us start 2009 with a greater flexibility, taking significant covenant pressure off the balance sheet. These were essential steps that allow us to be pro-active in the deleveraging process that alstria intends to implement prior to our next refinancing obligation at the end of 2011. Combined with the stability of our cash-flow, as well as the high quality of our assets, we feel that alstria is well prepared to face what we expect will be a difficult economic environment in 2009”

Corporate blogger lesson one: You cannot separate general discussion and company specifics.

First lesson learnt. Thanks for the feedback


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