Whitestone REIT Provides Business Update on Impact of COVID-19
With Outstanding Assets in Attractive Markets and a Strong Balance Sheet, Whitestone Believes that it Remains Well-Positioned for Long-Term Value Creation
Taking Appropriate Actions to Enhance Strength of Business and Financial Flexibility
Taking Prudent Step to Increase Cash Reserves Through a Reduced Dividend
Suspends Fiscal 2020 Guidance
HOUSTON, March 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) (“Whitestone” or the “Company”) today provided a business update related to the impact of COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our employees, tenants and communities are Whitestone’s top priority,” said Jim Mastandrea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Given the important role of our shopping centers in the communities we serve, we are carefully monitoring the spread and impact of COVID-19 and taking proactive measures to maintain the strength of our business and ensure the continuity of operations, as local conditions permit. During this extraordinary period of uncertainty, we are taking a prudent pause in making acquisitions, and carefully evaluating development and redevelopment activities on a case-by-case basis. We are maintaining an open line of communication with our tenants, working closely and helping them apply for potential government subsidies when available.”
“We believe that our business model is resilient, as many stores at our properties currently remain open to provide essential goods and services to communities, such as grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies,” Mr. Mastandrea added. “Additionally, many restaurants at our community-centered properties remain open and are providing take-out and/or delivery service to local neighborhoods. We are proud to continue serving the communities that rely on us for daily essentials, located in some of the largest markets in Texas and Arizona. All of us at Whitestone greatly appreciate the hard work of our employees, our tenants and the heroes on the front lines of this crisis – including our local police, fire and EMS professionals, and nurses, doctors and other health care providers.”
Business Performance Update
Whitestone completed 2019 with a strong balance sheet, profitable operating statements, minimal store closures, and a stable and well-diversified tenant base. The Company achieved profitable growth in 2019 driven by operational excellence, successful redevelopment and development initiatives, and value-enhancing acquisitions and divestitures. As in the past, Whitestone intends to be a judicious steward of capital, and as such, is pausing acquisitions at this time.