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NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Comments on COVID-19 Impact, Implementation of NCIB and $380 Million of Liquidity

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TORONTO, March 19, 2020 /CNW/ - NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (the "REIT") (TSX:NWH), Canada's leading global diversified healthcare real estate investment trust, today issued the following statement regarding the evolving COVID-19 pandemic:         

"At Northwest, the safety of our tenants, our employees and the broader community is our top priority and we are carefully monitoring the efforts to manage and contain COVID-19 across our global markets. As at March 18, 2020 we are not aware of any known cases at our facilities and we continue to work with our operating partners to take appropriate cautionary measures."

Paul Dalla Lana, CEO of the REIT, went on to say

"The REIT's focus is on the cure segment of healthcare and specifically partnering with best-in-class hospital operators and government-funded public health systems.  Those systems are essential to the delivery of primary and acute healthcare services, and are vitally important as multiple nations respond to this global pandemic. We are humbled by and grateful for the front-line work being done by our partners. 

While the work of our partners has changed, our core real estate business remains very stable. To ensure that stability, we are taking steps to increase liquidity, conserve cash and fortify the REIT's balance sheet. In this context, we continue to execute on our deleveraging strategy by generating up to $380 million of liquidity through strategic asset sales into our joint venture platforms by the end of Q2 2020."

Update on Strategic Initiatives

As previously disclosed, the REIT is well advanced in respect of $697 million of Australian and European asset sales, which will generate approximately $237 million of net proceeds and incremental liquidity. The REIT has closed on two tranches of these asset dispositions totaling $147 million, generating $56 million of net proceeds. The sale of the REIT's remaining $536 million of directly held Australian properties and the vend-in of its European seed portfolio are expected to close in Q2 2020 and generate net proceeds of $181 million. These remaining transactions are well progressed and the REIT's institutional partner has confirmed its intentions to complete these initiatives on a timely basis and in the context of current market volatility. 

Refinancing of 2020 Debt Maturities and Liquidity Profile

Year to date, the REIT has repaid and refinanced $316 million or 77% of its $410 million of 2020 debt maturities through:

(i)  the previously announced redemption and conversion of two series of convertible debentures totaling $92 million which was completed in January, 2020;

(ii)  a 2 year extension of a $199 million Australian secured facility held by Vital Healthcare Properties Trust at a weighted average interest rate of 2.25% which was completed on March 10, 2020; and,

(iii)  the normal course refinancing of $25 million of 2020 maturing Canadian mortgages with a weighted average term to maturity and interest rate of 5.0 years and 2.15%, respectively.

The REIT's remaining $94 million of 2020 debt maturities is comprised of Canadian mortgages which will be refinanced over the coming months on terms consistent with recently completed renewals. In addition, the REIT is in discussions to upsize its $218 million multi-currency revolving credit facility by $65 million through the inclusion of a pool of $170 million of unencumbered assets.

In aggregate, the REIT's $134 million of existing resources, combined with the $246 million of net proceeds from the remaining strategic asset dispositions as well as the aforementioned refinancings will provide the REIT with $380 million of available liquidity at the end of Q2 2020 consistent with its previously announced target net debt to EBITDA multiple of 8.0 times and target leverage of 40%.

Normal Course Issuer Bid ("NCIB")

Based on the current market price of the REIT's units and its 48% discount to its Q4 2019 reported net asset value per unit of $13.17, the REIT intends to make a normal course issuer bid for a portion of its units as appropriate opportunities arise from time to time. The REIT's NCIB is expected to be for up to 10% of its public float, will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Toronto Stock Exchange (the "TSX") and remains subject to TSX approval. Further details regarding the NCIB will be provided following TSX approval.

About NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:NWH) (NorthWest) is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust established under the laws of the Province of Ontario. As at December 31 2019, the REIT provides investors with access to a portfolio of high quality international healthcare real estate infrastructure comprised of interests in a diversified portfolio of 175 income-producing properties and 14.5 million square feet of gross leasable area located throughout major markets in Canada, Brazil, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The REIT's portfolio of medical office buildings, clinics, and hospitals is characterized by long term indexed leases and stable occupancies. With a fully integrated and aligned senior management team, the REIT leverages over 200 professionals in nine offices in five countries to serve as a long term real estate partner to leading healthcare operators.

Non-IFRS Measures

Some financial measures used in this press release, such as Operating Income, adjusted same-property NOI, FFO, AFFO, Normalized AFFO, Net Asset Value per Unit, portfolio occupancy and weighted average lease expiry, are used by the real estate industry to measure and compare the operating performance of real estate companies, but they do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. As such, they are unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other real estate companies. These non-IFRS measures are more fully defined and discussed in the REIT's Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") for the second quarter ending June 30, 2019, which is available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Also on SEDAR are the condensed consolidated unaudited interim financial statements of the REIT for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements with respect to the REIT, its operations, strategy, financial performance and condition. These statements generally can be identified by use of forward-looking words such as "may", "will", "expect", "estimate", "anticipate", "intends", "believe", "normalized", "contracted", "stabilized" or "continue" or the negative thereof or similar variations. The REIT's actual results and performance discussed herein could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations, including that the transactions contemplated herein are completed. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, among other things, general economic and market factors, competition, changes in government regulations and the factors described under "Risks and Uncertainties" in the REIT's Annual Information Form and the risks and uncertainties set out in the MD&A which are available on www.sedar.com. These cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to the REIT and persons acting on its behalf. Unless otherwise stated, all forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and, except as expressly required by applicable law, the REIT assumes no obligation to update such statements.

SOURCE NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

Cision View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2020/19/c7362.html

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