Press Release
February 13, 2020

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Financial Results

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Financial Results

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. (the “Company” or “ARI”) (NYSE:ARI) today reported financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2019.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Reported net income available to common stockholders for the three months ended December 31, 2019 of $68.5 million, or $0.42 per diluted share of common stock;
  • Reported Operating Earnings (a non-GAAP financial measure defined below) for the three months ended December 31, 2019 of $70.9 million, or $0.46 per diluted share of common stock;
  • Generated $81.4 million of net interest income during the quarter from the Company’s $6.4 billion commercial real estate loan portfolio;
  • Committed $2.2 billion to new commercial real estate loans ($1.2 billion of which was funded at closing) and funded an additional $143.3 million for loans closed prior to the quarter; and
  • Declared a $0.46 dividend per share of common stock for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

2019 Highlights

  • Reported net income available to common stockholders of $211.6 million, or $1.40 per diluted share of common stock, for the year ended December 31, 2019;
  • Reported Operating Earnings of $268.4 million, or $1.80 per diluted share of common stock, for the year ended December 31, 2019; excluding the realized loss on investments (described below), Operating Earnings were $280.9 million, or $1.89 per diluted share of common stock, for the year ended December 31, 2019;
  • Committed $4.2 billion to new commercial real estate loans ($3.0 billion of which was funded during the year ended December 31, 2019) and funded an additional $416.1 million for loans closed prior to 2019;
  • Closed a $500.0 million seven-year senior secured term loan priced at LIBOR plus 2.75% (priced at 99.5% of par), and entered into an interest rate swap to fix LIBOR at 2.12%, effectively fixing ARI's all-in coupon at 4.87%;
  • Issued 17,250,000 shares of common stock in an underwritten public offering, which generated net proceeds of $314.8 million; ARI used a portion of the net proceeds for the redemption of all of the outstanding 8.00% Series C Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Stock, which had a liquidation preference of $172.5 million; and
  • Declared dividends per share of common stock totaling $1.84 during the year ended December 31, 2019.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Investment Activity
New Investments - During the fourth quarter of 2019, ARI committed capital to the following commercial real estate loans:

  • $2.2 billion of first mortgage loans ($1.2 billion of which were funded during the quarter)

Funding of Previously Closed Loans - During the fourth quarter of 2019, ARI funded $143.3 million for loans closed prior to the quarter.

Loan Repayments - During the fourth quarter of 2019, ARI received $1.2 billion from loan repayments, comprised of $875.3 million from first mortgage loans and $318.6 million from subordinate loans.

Year End Commercial Real Estate Loan Portfolio Summary
The following table sets forth certain information regarding the Company’s commercial real estate loan portfolio at December 31, 2019 ($ amounts in thousands):

Description Amortized
Cost
 Weighted-
Average
Coupon (1)
 Weighted-
Average
All-in Yield (1)(2)
 Secured Debt (3) Cost of Funds Equity at
Cost (4)
Commercial mortgage loans, net $5,326,967  5.3% 6.0% $3,095,556  3.3% $2,231,411 
Subordinate loans and other lending assets, net 1,048,126  12.8% 14.1%     1,048,126 
Total/Weighted-Average $6,375,093  6.5% 7.4% $3,095,556  3.3% $3,279,537 


(1)Weighted-Average Coupon and Weighted-Average All-in Yield are based on the applicable benchmark rates as of December 31, 2019 on the floating rate loans.
(2)Weighted-Average All-in Yield includes the amortization of deferred origination fees, loan origination costs and accrual of both extension and exit fees. Yield excludes the benefit of forward points on currency hedges related to loans denominated in currencies other than USD.
(3)Gross of deferred financing costs of $17.2 million.
(4)Represents loan portfolio at amortized cost less secured debt outstanding.

Book Value
The Company’s book value per share of common stock was $16.03 at December 31, 2019 as compared to book value per share of common stock of $16.02 at September 30, 2019.

2020 Dividend
The board of directors declared a $0.40 dividend per share of common stock, which is payable on April 15, 2020 to common stockholders of record on March 31, 2020. Subject to the discretion and approval of the board of directors, the Company expects the dividend per share of common stock for the remainder of 2020 to be $0.40 per quarter.

Commenting on the dividend, Stuart Rothstein, Chief Executive Officer and President of ARI, said: “When setting the dividend, ARI’s board of directors consider multiple factors, including the level of Operating Earnings the current loan portfolio is expected to produce, the achievable risk-adjusted levered returns on equity (“ROEs”) ARI can generate when reinvesting capital and the appropriate level of leverage to use in order to achieve underwritten ROEs. While 2019 was another record year for ARI in terms of origination volume, with over $4.2 billion of capital committed to investments in commercial real estate credit transactions, the expected ROE generated from ARI’s portfolio declined. This was due to several factors, including the repayment of older-vintage, higher yielding mezzanine loans, lower yields on newly originated loans consistent with market conditions, a notable shift in the forward LIBOR curve and the continued implementation of our strategic decision to shift the composition of ARI’s portfolio into senior loans. Consistent with this shift in strategy, at year end 2019, 68% of ARI’s net equity was invested in first mortgages, as compared to 32% at the end of 2015.”

Mr. Rothstein continued: “Since inception, we have focused on delivering an attractive and stable dividend, which is supported by high quality earnings and reflects our ongoing approach to investment discipline, portfolio risk management and the prudent use of leverage. We believe the new dividend level set by the board of directors is consistent with that approach.”

Subsequent Events
The following events occurred subsequent to quarter end:

New Investments - Subsequent to quarter end, ARI committed capital to the following commercial real estate loans:

  • $560.9 million of first mortgage loans ($438.6 million of which were funded during the quarter)

Funding of Previously Closed Loans - Subsequent to quarter end, ARI funded $49.2 million for previously closed loans.

Loan Repayments - Subsequent to quarter end, ARI received $191.7 million from loan repayments, including $113.6 million from first mortgage loans and $81.5 million from subordinate loans.

Operating Earnings
Operating Earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure that the Company defines as net income available to common stockholders, computed in accordance with GAAP, adjusted for (i) equity-based compensation expense (a portion of which may become cash-based upon final vesting and settlement of awards should the holder elect net share settlement to satisfy income tax withholding), (ii) any unrealized gains or losses or other non-cash items included in net income available to common stockholders, (iii) unrealized income from unconsolidated joint ventures, (iv) foreign currency gains/(losses), other than (a) realized gains/(losses) related to interest income, and (b) forward point gains/(losses) realized on the Company's foreign currency hedges, (v) the non-cash amortization expense related to the reclassification of a portion of the Company's convertible senior notes (the "Notes") to stockholders’ equity in accordance with GAAP, and (vi) provision for loan losses and impairments. Beginning with the quarter ended December 31, 2018, the Company modified its definition of Operating Earnings to include the impact from forward points on its foreign currency hedges, which reflect the interest rate differentials between the applicable base rate for its foreign currency investments and USD LIBOR. These forward contracts effectively convert the rate exposure to USD LIBOR, resulting in additional interest income earned in U.S. dollar terms. These amounts may not be included in GAAP net income in the same period as this adjustment. Generally these amounts would be included in prior period GAAP net income as unrealized gains on forward currency contracts.
               
The weighted-average diluted shares outstanding used for Operating Earnings per weighted-average diluted share has been adjusted from weighted-average diluted shares under GAAP to exclude shares issued from a potential conversion of the Notes. Consistent with the treatment of other unrealized adjustments to Operating Earnings, these potentially issuable shares are excluded until a conversion occurs, which the Company believes is a useful presentation for investors. The Company believes that excluding shares issued in connection with a potential conversion of the Notes from the Company's computation of Operating Earnings per weighted-average diluted share is useful to investors for various reasons, including the following: (i) conversion of the Notes to shares requires both the holder of a Note to elect to convert the Note and for the Company to elect to settle the conversion in the form of shares (ii) future conversion decisions by Note holders will be based on the Company's stock price in the future, which is presently not determinable; (iii) the exclusion of shares issued in connection with a potential conversion of the Notes from the computation of Operating Earnings per weighted-average diluted share is consistent with how the Company treats other unrealized items in the computation of Operating Earnings per weighted-average diluted share; and (iv) the Company believes that when evaluating its operating performance, investors and potential investors consider the Operating Earnings relative to the actual distributions, which are based on shares outstanding and not shares that might be issued in the future

In order to evaluate the effective yield of the portfolio, the Company uses Operating Earnings to reflect the net investment income of its portfolio as adjusted to include the net interest expense related to its derivative instruments. Operating Earnings allows the Company to isolate the net interest expense associated with its swaps in order to monitor and project its full cost of borrowings. The Company also believes that its investors use Operating Earnings, or a comparable supplemental performance measure, to evaluate and compare the performance of the Company and its peers and, as such, the Company believes that the disclosure of Operating Earnings is useful to its investors. In addition, during 2018, the Company recorded a loss on early extinguishment of debt associated with exchanges and conversions of the 2019 Notes. The Company believes it is non-recurring and not reflective of its ongoing operations. For further discussion on the exchanges and conversions of the 2019 Notes, refer to "Note 9 - Convertible Senior Notes, Net" of the Company's 10-K. Forward points effectively convert the Company's foreign rate exposure to USD LIBOR, which the Company believes is a better reflection of its operating results and ARI believes the inclusion of the resulting gain or loss in Operating Earnings is useful to its investors. The Company believe it is useful to the investors to also present Operating Earnings excluding realized loss on investments and loss on early extinguishment of debt to reflect the Company's operating results. The Company's operating results are primarily comprised of earning interest income on their investments net of borrowing and administrative costs.

A significant limitation associated with Operating Earnings as a measure of the Company's financial performance over any period is that it excludes unrealized gains (losses) from investments. In addition, the Company's presentation of Operating Earnings may not be comparable to similarly-titled measures of other companies, who may use different calculations. As a result, Operating Earnings should not be considered as a substitute for the Company's GAAP net income as a measure of its financial performance or any measure of its liquidity under GAAP.

Reconciliation of Operating Earnings to Net Income Available to Common Stockholders
The table below reconciles Operating Earnings, Operating Earnings per share of common stock and Operating Earnings excluding realized loss on investments and loss on early extinguishment of debt with net income available to common stockholders and net income available to common stockholders per share of common stock for the three months and years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively ($ amounts in thousands, except per share data):

 Three months ended Earnings
Per Share(1)
 Three months ended Earnings
Per Share(1)
 December 31, 2019  December 31, 2018 
Operating Earnings:       
Net income available to common stockholders$68,517  $0.44  $46,155  $0.34 
Adjustments:       
Equity-based compensation expense3,813  0.03  2,184  0.02 
(Gain) loss on foreign currency forwards43,044  0.28  (10,261) (0.08)
Unrealized gain on interest rate swap(8,950) (0.06)    
Foreign currency (gain) loss, net(39,830) (0.26) 6,761  0.05 
Realized gains relating to interest income on foreign currency hedges, net(2)290    535   
Realized gains relating to forward points on foreign currency hedges, net3,237  0.02  635  0.01 
Amortization of the convertible senior notes related to equity reclassification743  0.01  934  0.01 
Provision for loan losses and impairments    15,000  0.11 
Total adjustments:2,347  0.02  15,788  0.12 
Operating Earnings$70,864  $0.46  $61,943  $0.46 
Basic weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding153,537,074    133,852,915   
Weighted-average diluted shares - Operating Earnings       
Weighted-average diluted shares - GAAP182,070,345