Due to the heightened uncertainty relating to the duration and potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Prime Group Inc. plans to enhance its overall liquidity position, which includes a further reduction of the company’s cash dividend for common shares and operating partnership units.
The Columbus-headquartered Washington Prime Group intends to pay a quarterly dividend of $0.0625 for common shares and operating partnership units throughout the remainder of the year with a potential true up (in either direction) as part of the fourth quarter dividend payment, in order to address the company’s REIT taxable income distribution requirements. This compares to a quarterly dividend of $0.125 for the first quarter of 2020.
The change should result in additional cash savings of approximately $40 million for the remainder of the year and over $150 million compared to the company’s cumulative dividend payments in 2019, exclusive of any true up.
“This action further illustrates the proactive measures we are enacting whether they be operational or financial,” CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group Lou Conforti stated. “In other words, it’s all about common sense. Reducing the common dividend is only logical given the current situation.
“Remember, Washington Prime Group possessed the ability to internally fund our adaptive reuse mandate prior to this announcement with an additional ~$40M of surplus cash. This temporary liquidity enhancement is being undertaken not because we have to … it is a measure by which to ensure we maintain the financial flexibility to emerge as unscathed as possible from this situational (as opposed to systemic) crisis.”