Is the self-storage sector moving toward consolidation? (Part 2/2)

Click here if you have not read part 1.

So, which companies have the potential to alter the self-storage landscape? Let’s look at the options.

National Storage Affiliates

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National Storage Affiliates is a REIT that was achieved by combining a variety of smaller companies to achieve better access to funding and lower corporate costs. As a result, the small companies received the benefits of larger companies, while retaining management of their original properties. It started with six affiliates (known as PROs) has become the sixth largest self-storage operator in the country. Their 2014 national ranking (with the exception of SecurCare) include: Northwest (16th), Optivest Properties (21st), Storage Solutions (29th), Move It (34th), Guardian Storage Centers (36th), and SecurCare (6th in 2013).

Today, National Storage anticipates adding more affiliates, which should act as an industry catalyzer.

Privately Owned Companies

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Two private companies, Simply Self Storage (founded in 2003 with headquarters in Orlando, FL) and StorageMart (founded by Gordon Durnam after selling his previous company, Storage Trust, to Public Storage in 1999) have the potential to alter industry dynamics. Currently, Simply Self Storage operate more than 160 facilities with over 12 million square feet of rentable space, while StorageMart operates 165 stores in Canada and the United States and has 11 million rentable square feet.

 

W.P. Carey

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Self-storage only accounts for 5% of W.P. Carey’s annualized base rent (ABR), yet they are still one of the top 10 self-storage operators in the US. With 3.5 million square feet of rentable space, they generate an ABR of $32 million. They have only one tenant, U-Haul Moving Partners and Mercury Partners, which makes them the second largest W.P. Carey tenant.

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Currently, W.P. Carey has an 88% interest in this venture and also operates industrial, office, retail, and warehouse space, which contribute greatly to their total revenue. Self-storage is a component of the company’s strategy to be diversified across different types of property.

U-Haul International

The shareholders of Amerco (U-Haul International’s parent company) decided not to pursue the conversion of its real estate assets into a REIT platform at their annual meeting in August 2015. As a result, it doesn’t appear that they will be repositioning the company in the short term.

 

Source: Public Storage (NYSE:PSA), Extra Space Storage, Inc. (NYSE:EXR), CubeSmart Common Shares (NYSE:CUBE), Sovran Self Storage Inc. (NYSE:SSS), National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA), Amerco (NASDAQ:UHAL), W.P. Carey, Inc. (NYSE:WPC).

Disclaimer: This newsletter is not engaged in rendering tax, accounting, or other professional advice through this publication. No statement in this issue is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or other investment. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decision. Some information presented in this publication has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable. Sources are not required to make representations as to the accuracy of the information, however, and consequently the publisher cannot guarantee accuracy.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any shares mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Is the self-storage sector moving toward consolidation? (Part 1/2)

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In the United States, there are more than 50,000 self-storage facilities and 30,000 operators that account for $24 billion in annual revenue. While around 11% of the industry’s total rentable square footage are self-storage REITs, the other 89% are privately owned and run by operators. Although these statistics indicate that there is significant potential for consolidation in this profitable industry, it remains to be seen whether or not this will actually take place.

In all honesty, it will take considerable effort to make any changes in the industry. Outside of the ten leading operators, there is no single operator with the power to make big changes in the industry’s landscape. Any that do attempt growth will have to do so a little bit at a time through development or the acquisition of smaller players.

chart02Currently, Public Storage, a $43 billion market cap company, is in the industry’s top spot as the largest company. In the United States and Europe, they operate 142 million net rentable square feet of real estate. No other company is anywhere near this. Public Storage has aggressively gobbled up private operators, but, in recent years, due to increasing acquisition competition, they have ramped up a development process. Even if the remaining REITs combine together, they would have no chance of overcoming Public Storage.

In second, Extra Space Storage has an $11 billion market cap with 87 million square feet of rentable space. In September 2015, Extra Space Storage closed on the acquisition of SmartStop Self Storage, which had been the 7th largest operator in the industry, for $1.4 billion USD.

Additional players in the self-storage sector include REITs CubeSmart, Sovran, and W.P. Carey (minority self-storage), as well as recently publicly traded REIT National Storage Affiliates, Amerco (the publicly traded company that operates U-Haul International), and two additional private operators, Simply Self Storage and StorageMart.

So, which companies have the potential to alter the self-storage landscape? Let’s look at the options tomorrow.

Source: Public Storage (NYSE:PSA), Extra Space Storage, Inc. (NYSE:EXR), CubeSmart Common Shares (NYSE:CUBE), Sovran Self Storage Inc. (NYSE:SSS), National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA), Amerco (NASDAQ:UHAL), W.P. Carey, Inc. (NYSE:WPC).

Disclaimer: This newsletter is not engaged in rendering tax, accounting, or other professional advice through this publication. No statement in this issue is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or other investment. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decision. Some information presented in this publication has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable. Sources are not required to make representations as to the accuracy of the information, however, and consequently the publisher cannot guarantee accuracy.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any shares mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Amerco Shareholders, Will You Change Your Mind?

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Companies that have considered a REIT spinoff, but not acted on these considerations yet may be forced into making a decision sooner rather than later, as there is the possibility that Congress may ban these for tax reasons. A number of established companies have already created these spinoffs, while others have decided against them.

Sears Holdings Corp. has arguably had some success with REIT spinoffs. They have created a separate company, Seritage Growth Properties, as a response to the pressure that was building due to poor sales. This new stock has performed relatively well, with its share price increasing by 10% since the company went public in July.

chart03A company that expects to have a greater degree of success is MGM Resorts International. The activist group Land and Buildings had some influence over this decision, and while it has not completed the spinoff yet, the group estimates a 50% upside from current levels.

chart04McDonald’s Corporation has decided against creating a REIT, and this was announced at an investor meeting held in November. The company felt that the risks, especially financial and operational, were greater the gains.

chart02Amerco had a similar decision to make late August by their shareholders. The board recommended a vote against putting the real estate that the company owns into a REIT, and the shareholders upheld this decision at their annual meeting. However, there are a number of reasons why they might now change their minds.

Amerco, which is the parent company of U-Haul International, has an advantage over the rest of these companies because it operates in the self storage sector. This means Amerco has the opportunity to unlock asset value in a sector where REITs have enjoyed AFFO multiples close to 30x, one of the highest in the industry.

The valuation metrics of the self storage REITs suggest that Amerco would gain from creating a REIT. For instance, the average price/revenues for a self storage REIT is approximately 14x. In the case of Amerco, the self storage segment would have a market capitalization of $3.3 billion, which is about 45% of the company’s total market capitalization. This is impressive when you consider that Amerco’s self storage segment only generates 6% of total revenues.

Source: Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD), Seritage Growth Properties (NYSE:SRG), MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Amerco (NASDAQ:UHAL), Yahoo! Finance, Fast Graphs.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is not engaged in rendering tax, accounting, or other professional advice through this publication. No statement in this issue is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or other investment. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decision. Some information presented in this publication has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable. Sources are not required to make representations as to the accuracy of the information, however, and consequently the publisher cannot guarantee accuracy.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any shares mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.