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Getty Realty to Seek Retail Acquisitions

JERICHO, N.Y. -- Getty Realty Corp. underwent such an extensive transition during 2012 that it became a "fundamentally new company," President and CEO David Driscoll remarked during this morning's fourth-quarter earnings call.

Getty Realty formerly leased 799 gas stations and convenience stores to Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. (GPMI), which declared bankruptcy on Dec. 5, 2011. Now, with most of the overhead related to the bankruptcy behind it, Getty Realty will hunt for acquisitions that will provide "accretive growth."

Driscoll did not give specifics on what properties the real estate investment trust (REIT) is seeking to buy. However, he noted that the company has already created a portfolio of potential acquisitions and has $100 million available to spend on such purchases.

The CEO added that even though real estate prices have risen recently, there are opportunities right now being offered at a good price. "We are finding things that make sense," he said. "We are seeing things in the pipeline and portfolio that are intriguing to us."

Although the worst of the GPMI bankruptcy is behind Getty Realty, the REIT still has more work to do. According to Driscoll, the company is actively selling 80 c-stores and gas stations it formerly leased to GPMI, with an average closing rate of three to five sales per week.

In its 2012 fourth quarter, Getty Realty entered four triple-net leases with affiliates of Capital Petroleum Group, Lehigh Gas Partners, Global Partners and BP North America that covered 161 properties. In addition, the company sold 25 properties in its latest quarter.

Thus far in 2013, Getty Realty has sold 35 locations and one terminal property for $31.6 million.

With the chief executive acknowledging it is "impossible to overstate how remarkable 2012 was," Getty Realty is now running on all cylinders. The company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings back that up. Getty Realty earned a net profit of $5.8 million for its latest quarter ended Dec. 31. That is a massive improvement compared to the company's $19.5-million loss during its 2011 fourth quarter.

In another showing of financial strength, Getty Realty increased its quarterly dividend by nearly 60 percent to 20 cents per share.


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