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Colonial Properties Trust (CLP)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 2:00 PM ET

Executives

Jerry Brewer – EVP, Finance

Thomas Lowder – Chairman and CEO

Reynolds Thompson – President and CFO

Analysts

Eric Wolfe – Citi

Jana Galan – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Stephen Swett – Morgan Keegan

Mike Salinsky – RBC Capital Markets

Richard Anderson – BMO Capital Markets

Jeffrey Donnelly – Wells Fargo

Haendel St. Juste – KBW

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Colonial Properties Trust Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Thursday, October 27, 2011.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Jerry Brewer, Executive Vice President, Finance. Please go ahead, sir.

Jerry Brewer

Thank you, Susan. Welcome to everyone joining us today. We released our earnings this morning via Business Wire. A copy of this earnings release may be found on our website. We’re also webcasting this call for your convenience. Replay will be available for your convenience on our website after the call.

Tom Lowder, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Reynolds Thompson, our President and Chief Financial Officer will lead today’s call. On the call, they will discuss our business developments, financial results for the third quarter and our guidance for 2011. After their comments, we’ll open up the call to take your questions. Paul Earle, our Chief Operating Officer, is also here to field the questions.

Let me remind you that much of the information we discuss on this call, including answers we give in response to your questions, may include forward-looking statements regarding our beliefs and current expectations with respect to various matters. These forward-looking statements are intended to fall under the Safe Harbor provisions of the securities law. These estimates are also based on a number of assumptions, any of which, unrealized, could adversely affect our accuracy. Please see our latest SEC filings for the detail and explanation of risk. Any non-GAAP financial measures we discuss are reconciled to the closest GAAP measures and filings that can be found on our website.

I’ll now turn the call over to Tom.

Thomas Lowder

Thank you, Jerry, and welcome to everyone joining us. Today we’ll discuss our third quarter results and review our outlook for the remainder of the year. Three CEO focused directives for the year are to grow the company, improve operations and achieve our balance sheet targets.

Our largest opportunity to grow the company is through growing our core revenues. Our third quarter results were some of the best numbers we have posted in our company’s history. We posted an 8.3% quarter-over-quarter same property net operating income increased driven by 5.5% increase in revenue. This growth is a direct reflection of strong new and renewal rental rate growth, stabilized occupancy and good expense controls.

We’re also adding to our growth with the start of another multifamily development during the quarter. This brings our multifamily development pipeline to a total of 1014 apartment units under development with projected spending of $120 million. We completed an asset recycling transaction that allowed us to dispose a six order multifamily communities and bring home three much younger assets.

This transaction helped improve the quality of our multifamily portfolio in terms of age, average rental rate, operating margins and lower CapEx requirements. Reynolds will discuss this transaction in more detail in just a few minutes. With our increase in revenues and control of expenses to operating margin for our same property portfolio improved 150 basis points for the quarter as compared to last year.

Contributing to this improvement, our reduced turn calls, which are a result of lower turnover and completing a significant portion of our turns with our in-house maintenance staff. All of this was accomplished while maintaining a high level of occupancy resulting in financial occupancy of 95.6% for the quarter.

Our third CEO directive is to achieve our balance sheet targets. We maintain our stated objective of regaining our investment grade rating. Since last quarter, all three rating agencies have given us a positive credit outlook, as a result of the improvements we’ve made on our balance sheet. The seven-year $250 million financing we completed earlier in the quarter along with the capital raise through the ATM programs has certainly helped in that regard.

Now Reynolds will provide more details on the operating performance and activity during the quarter and I’ll conclude with updating guidance. Reynolds?

Reynolds Thompson

Thank you, Tom. FFO for the third quarter was $0.28 per share, compared with $0.20 a year ago. The increase is primarily related to an improvement in the same property net operating income and a contribution from acquisitions. Operating results continued to be strong in all of our major markets as evidenced by same property NOI increase of 8.3%, compared to the third quarter of 2010.

NOI growth exceeded 10% in many of our major markets. This growth was driven by a revenue increase of 5.5% versus the prior year. Our rent per occupied unit increased 5.2%, while maintaining a high level of occupancy. Sequentially, revenue grew 1.5% with rent per unit up 1.9%. Our strongest revenue markets were Austin, Phoenix, Roley (ph) and Savannah.

For the quarter, new lease rates were up 5.9% and renewal rates were up 6.2%. We define a change in the new release rate as a percent change in rent compared to the prior rent for the same apartment upon moving. We define a change in renewal lease rate as a percentage change in rent from the expiring lease in the month at the renewed lease takes effect. This methodology allows us to have the changes in our rents and our financial statements

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