We define FFO, a non-GAAP measure, consistent with the standards established by the White Paper on FFO approved by the Board of Governors of NAREIT, as revised in February 2004, or the White Paper. The White Paper defines FFO as net income (loss) computed in accordance with GAAP, excluding gains or losses from sales of property and asset impairment writedowns, plus depreciation and amortization, and after adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. Adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures are calculated to reflect FFO. Our FFO calculation complies with NAREIT's policy described above.
The historical accounting convention used for real estate assets requires straight-line depreciation of buildings and improvements, which implies that the value of real estate assets diminishes predictably over time. Diminution in value may occur if such assets are not adequately maintained or repaired and renovated as required by relevant circumstances or other measures necessary to maintain the assets are not undertaken. However, we believe that, since real estate values historically rise and fall with market conditions, including inflation, interest rates, the business cycle, unemployment and consumer spending, presentations of operating results for a REIT using historical accounting for depreciation may be less informative. In addition, in the determination of FFO, we believe it is appropriate to disregard impairment charges, as this is a fair value adjustment that is largely based on market fluctuations and assessments regarding general market conditions which can change over time. An asset will only be evaluated for impairment if certain impairment indications exist, and if the carrying, or book value, exceeds the total estimated undiscounted future cash flows (including net rental revenues, net proceeds on the sale of the property, and any other ancillary cash flows at a property or group level under GAAP) from such asset. Testing for impairment is a continuous process and is analyzed on a quarterly basis. Investors should note, however, that determinations of whether impairment charges have been incurred are based partly on anticipated operating performance, because estimated undiscounted future cash flows from a property, including estimated future net rental revenues, net proceeds on the sale of the property, and certain other ancillary cash flows, are taken into account in determining whether an impairment charge has been incurred. While impairment charges are excluded from the calculation of FFO as described above, investors are cautioned that due to the fact that impairments are based on estimated future undiscounted cash flows and that we intend to have a relatively limited term of our operations, it could be difficult to recover any impairment charges through the eventual sale of the property. To date, we have not recognized any impairments.
Historical accounting for real estate involves the use of GAAP. Any other method of accounting for real estate such as the fair value method cannot be construed to be any more accurate or relevant than the comparable methodologies of real estate valuation found in GAAP. Nevertheless, we believe that the use of FFO, which excludes the impact of real estate related depreciation and amortization and impairments, assists in providing a more complete understanding of our performance to investors and to our management, and when compared year over year, reflects the impact on our operations from trends in occupancy rates, rental rates, operating costs, general and administrative expenses, and interest costs, which may not be immediately apparent from net income (loss).
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