U-Store-It Trust, a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust focused on self-storage facilities, announced its board of trustees declared a quarterly dividend of $0.07 per common share for the period ending Dec. 31. The dividend, payable on Jan. 21, to common shareholders of record on Jan. 7, represents an annualized dividend rate of $0.28 per share, an increase of 180 percent compared to the previous annualized dividend rate of $0.10 per share.
"The past two years have been transformational for our company as we navigated through a difficult recession and damaged capital markets,” said CEO Dean Jernigan. “Our dividend policy during this period was predicated on preserving liquidity as our highest priority. As 2010 comes to an end, we look to continue our positive net operating income growth into 2011, execute our external growth initiatives, and refine our healthy, largely unsecured balance sheet."
The increase in dividend marks a return to a more traditional dividend policy for the company, and reflects its increasing confidence in the fundamental strength of the company’s portfolio and the self-storage sector, Jernigan said. The implied $0.28 annual dividend rate per share represents the portion of the company’s estimated 2011 free cash flow that it believes is appropriate to distribute as dividends based on general economic conditions and the company’s continued confidence in external growth opportunities. "Our philosophy going forward will be to share our future growth in free cash with shareholders as well as increase the overall percentage of free cash flow we distribute as economic conditions stabilize,” Jernigan added.
Based in Wayne, Pa., U-Store-It owns or manages 476 facilities across the United States and operates the U-Store-It Network, which consists of approximately 714 additional self-storage facilities.