A message from Wendy Simpson, our Chairman, CEO and President:
Wendy’s letter, April 13, 2020
LTC is committed to keeping you up to date on COVID-19 developments within our portfolio, and today, sadly, that means informing you of a widespread community outbreak at one of our properties. If there is any positive news, it is that so far, this one widespread instance appears to be an isolated occurrence. As of Monday, April 13th, only 6 percent, or 11, of our 180 properties have reported COVID-19 cases involving residents, and in the majority of those, there are still just a few positive results. Our thoughts and best wishes are with the patients, residents, employees and families who work at and live in our properties.
While it seems inevitable that as more testing occurs, the number of cases within our portfolio will increase. I think it’s important to remember, however, especially with respect to seniors housing, that the news we hear and read can be alarming and feel sensationalized. Without question, this is a frightening, highly contagious virus, but I believe our collective focus is best spent on the positive ways communities of all kinds have come together to defeat this scourge and to support everyone who is fighting on the front lines of care giving.
We feel tremendous pride for our network of operators and their valiant employees who continue to courageously care for the ailing and elderly, and we are working to support them. We have the utmost confidence in their abilities not only to contain the virus’s incursion within their communities, but to continue providing day-to-day, high quality care to their patients and residents.
Wendy’s letter, April 1, 2020
As these uncertain times continue, I wanted to reiterate what an incredible job our operators are doing to ensure the safety and care of their patients, residents and employees.
To their great credit, despite many challenges, obstacles and long hours, our operators remain prepared. Protocols are in place, PPE shipments are arriving, and everyone is courageously focused on winning the fight against COVID-19 at their centers and communities. Fortunately, to date, there have only been a handful of reported cases at the properties we own, and of those, the majority are staff. We are hopeful that our operators continue to experience a relatively low number of instances of COVID-19 cases.
While being respectful of our operators’ time and current priorities, LTC continues to communicate with them frequently, offering help wherever we can. Through email, a LinkedIn forum, a newly created blog and a virtual activity website, we’ve connected our network of operators to one another. We are so proud of the collaborative approach they have taken as a group, helping and supporting one another by sharing supplies, wisdom and lessons learned. We are not surprised, however, as LTC has built a strong and capable network of operators.
Regarding LTC specifically, I want to emphasize that we remain open for business. While it might not be business as usual, given slowing deal flow and challenges related to due diligence, among other challenges, we are using this time wisely to solidify industry and operator relationships, identify potential future investments and focus on balance sheet strength and liquidity. In fact, we recently announced the sale of our Preferred Care portfolio for $78 million. Our highly capable team was able to execute despite current challenges.
You may also have seen that we initiated a stock repurchase program in mid-March when the environment presented a unique opportunity for LTC to invest in itself and enhance shareholder value. In the week that followed, our board made the strategic decision to terminate the program so that we could focus on enhancing our liquidity and maintaining our strong balance sheet. We believe this was the best course of action to provide increased financial flexibility and liquidity that will allow LTC to complete and compete for accretive transactions when this crisis inevitably ends.
We are conservative by design and by nature, and our balance sheet and recent activities reflect that. As a result, we are solidly positioned to act swiftly when the market improves. One can never fully plan for a disaster like COVID-19, but I am confident that the patience we have always practiced as part of our business culture, will allow LTC to maintain a leadership role in our industry.
The industry is strong and resilient. We have survived multiple real estate cycles and tough times together, and we are doing it again now. LTC is a proud member of the seniors housing community, and are we are grateful for the hard work of our operators, who are our valued and respected partners. They are the lifeblood of our business, transforming mere buildings into centers and communities where seniors receive the very best, expertly delivered care.
So, if you know someone on the front lines, do something nice for them. Send a bottle of wine, a gift card or an offer of assistance. Send food to a senior community near you, or have your kids draw pictures and write letters to patients and residents to help put a smile on their faces. It’s times like these when our collective empathy matters the most.
I’ll continue to provide updates as warranted. In the meantime, everyone at LTC thanks all of you for your continued support.
Wendy’s letter, March 22, 2020
As the world works to find solutions to the current global pandemic, all of us at LTC hope for a resolution as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by this health emergency.
Since 1992, LTC has been serving the senior housing and care industry. Now, more than ever, we have tremendous appreciation and respect for everyone who is on the front line ensuring that those most at risk are getting the best possible care. This is especially true for our operating partners whose employees are selflessly working every day for the benefit of their patients and residents. We have the highest confidence that during this difficult time, our operators are prepared, focused and are courageously taking on the current challenge.
Many of our partners represent some of the strongest regional operators in the country. Through our regular communications, we have learned of the comprehensive plans put in place not only to protect their patients, residents and employees, but also to continue providing the best quality of life possible for everyone involved. Some of these plans include changes to admissions procedures, resident and family communication, social programs that incorporate appropriate distancing, and employee travel bans, among others as recommended by the CDC.
During this unprecedented pandemic, our partners are extremely busy running their centers and communities. While we are remaining in close contact with them, we are also respecting the incredible amount of work that is involved. We will continue to monitor the situation through ongoing communication, offering support where we can.
Over the years, we have built and maintained a conservative balance sheet with high liquidity, allowing us to manage through difficult times. We have worked to strengthen our portfolio over the last several years, and are highly diversified by operator, geography and property type. Although we cannot predict what the financial impact of the pandemic will be to our business, we believe in our ability to maintain our current operations, and, importantly, the capability of our operators to maintain theirs.