I want to start this week’s email on a more serious note. I am personally saddened by the recent tragedy of the wrongful death of George Floyd. At the same time, I am encouraged by the generally peaceful protests, statements and demonstrations, and I am optimistic that meaningful positive change will come from his death.
Let there be no doubt: Racism and hatred, in any form, is not tolerated at SmartCentres. As a proud Canadian organization, SmartCentres was built on diversity and inclusion. Mitch and I have both lived most of our lives in the very diverse City of Toronto; it is only natural for us to be inclusive, and recognize the importance of diversity. In the 21 years that I have been with our organization, this has always been at the core. It is a strength. Our differences make us stronger, and our commitment to treating each other with respect is core to our corporate values.
Mitch and I are committed to leading with empathy and compassion, to honour your differences. While we may not have all the answers, we will always listen empathetically, seeking to understand. There is always an opportunity to reflect and improve further in this realm. If you have any concerns about equality, please have a courageous discussion with your leader and/or any member of the executive team. We are here to listen and reaffirm our commitment to equal opportunities.
We are committed to developing Canadian communities that make people feel welcome and valued. Now, more than ever, our communities need us. I encourage you to continue living our values, to play your part in helping to make our teams and our communities better, safer and more accepting.
This week’s email is condensed because we have our first virtual Townhall on Thursday morning, and will be sharing updates with you live.
- Please be sure to log in the YouTube link before 11am on Thursday, to ensure you are connected when the live stream begins.
- Don’t forget to disconnect from the VPN before clicking the link to connect.
Thank you to everyone that submitted questions via the anonymous “Ask the BCLT” link. The answers to your questions will be covered off in the Townhall. We will also be sharing the plans for our staged Return To Office (RTO) plans. As a reminder, if you have not already done so, please complete and submit your RTO assessment to HR – it is due tomorrow (Monday).
On Thursday June 4th, SmartCentres announced our agreement to issue $600 million in unsecured debentures. An unsecured debenture is essentially a long-term loan, backed by the creditworthiness and reputation of the issuer (in our case, the issuer is SmartCentres REIT). These unsecured offerings are expected to close within the week. $300 million of our new debentures have a coupon (i.e. interest rate) of 3.192% and mature in 2027. The other $300 million has a coupon of 3.648% and a 2030 maturity. These funds will add to our liquidity and financial flexibility, and will allow us to repay existing debts that are currently being carried at higher rates of interest.
We should all be proud that our strong reputation is what enabled us to issue these debentures at a low interest rate and in a very short amount of time (less than 48 hours to market and “sell-out”), In fact, there was in excess of $3.1 billion in interested orders – more than 5 times the amount we were offering. Let’s continue the efforts that are giving us this strong reputation: Our attention to detail, our development expertise, our strong and stable retail base, and our intensification program momentum.
We look forward to ‘seeing you’ at the townhall on Thursday. (Technically, you will see us, but we won’t see you…)
Stay strong and stay safe,