Hurricane Matthew shows value of senior housing, Ventas CFO says

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Robert F. "Bob" Probst
Robert F. "Bob" Probst

Hurricane Matthew resulted in death and destruction of property, but it also showed the value of seniors housing, Robert F. “Bob” Probst, the chief financial officer of real estate investment trust Ventas, told those participating in a third-quarter earnings call on Friday.

“Our operators took every precaution to ensure the seniors in our communities were safe and secure as the hurricane approached, including stockpiling food, supplies and fuel for generators,” he said. “Staff members went above and beyond to make the residents' safety their No. 1 priority, often staying overnight and supporting sister communities in area. The support that our seniors received before, during and after the hurricane highlights the value of senior housing: Dedicated staff and resources, peace of mind, safety and security and a sense of community even in the most challenging situations.”

| See Senior living communities welcome temporary residents during Hurricane Matthew |

The weather hit just as operators are determining their annual rate increases for next year, Probst said.

“Looking ahead to 2017, we are working in close collaboration with our operator partners as they set the annual rate increases for existing residents for next year,” he said. “We are encouraged by the continuing pricing power in our portfolio and the clear value proposition of senior housing, as Hurricane Matthew demonstrated.”

Also during the call, Ventas Chairwoman and CEO Debra Cafaro announced that the REIT had amended its contracts with Sunrise Senior Living and planned to sell some Brookdale Senior Living assets.

“In short, we provided long-term stability in the management contract with Sunrise, and Sunrise agreed to reduce the management fees we pay under that agreement on a permanent basis,” she said, without going into much detail. Under the terms of the agreement, Sunrise permanently reduced its management fees by approximately $1 million per quarter, effective July 1, 2016.

“We've actually created incentive for Sunrise to grow even more than the old agreements provided for, and if they do, there will be shared benefit to both companies from hitting those goals, which are stretch-year goals,” Cafaro said. Ventas also entered into a new multiyear pipeline agreement with Sunrise, she added, giving Ventas the right to fund future development projects.

Regarding Brookdale, Carfaro said that Ventas and the nation's largest senior living provider plan to sell 11 assets together.

“We've agreed to jointly market those assets with Brookdale,” she said. “So we would be exiting those assets together and a new operator would take over. And our portfolio would improve, and Brookdale's performance would improve as a result.”

She described the transaction as “modest,” in $20 million range.

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