Farmland Partners revealed that its portfolio had grown
nearly to the size of Bahrain, even as the land investment group unveiled a
widening loss, blamed on costs stemming from its acquisition of American
Farmland Partners – which floated three years ago with a portfolio
of some 7,000 acres – said that it now controlled 154,000 acres, equivalent to an
area half the size of the UK country of Berkshire.
The figure, which the group said had taken the value of its
portfolio nearly to $1bn, included 17,800 acres acquired with the merger with American
Farmland, plus a further 15 acquisitions totalling some 20,000 acres, and
costing some $110m.
Farmland Partners now owns land in 17 states, from Georgia
on the US east coast to California in the west, and including large chunks in
the Midwest, including in Illinois where the group has its roots, and Plains
states such as Kansas and Colorado.
Expansion has been backed by borrowings which the group
pegged at $437.8m as of the end of March, largely from Rutledge Investment Co
and from MetLife Agricultural Investments.
Farmland Partners over the first three months of the year
converted $105.7m of its MetLife loans to fixed interest rates, from variable.
Despite the increased portfolio, the group revealed a
decline in its adjusted funds from operations, its preferred income measure, to
some $400,000 for the January-to-March quarter, equivalent to $0.01 per share,
from $700,000 a year before.
Headline losses expanded 43% to $2.55m.
Paul Pittman, the Farmland Partners chief executive, said
that the results reflected "one-time expenses" associated with the American
Farmland deal, including increased acquisition and due diligence costs, which
rose ninefold year on year to $515m, and a fee for terminating an advisory
contract with Prudential.
Revenues, however, while up 52% year on year at $7.1m, did
not reflect the full benefit of the acquisitions, including in many cases
contributions for only part of the January-to-March period.
"A combination of one-time expenses and understated revenue
recognition due to the timing of the close of the American Farmland merger…
negatively affected our reported financial performance measures," Mr Pittman
Farmland Partners shares stood 2.2% lower at $10.56 in late deals in New York.