Case Study: Sale-Leaseback Technique of Wendy’s and McDonald

Sale-leaseback

Wendy’s Refranchising 640 Stores

Following a pattern we’re seeing in the wider market, Wendy’s this week announced that they were going to sell as many as 640 stores to their franchisees. This on the heels of McDonald’s announcing they would do the same for 3,500 stores as part of their effort to boost the bottom-line.

It’s not exactly clear how many, but certainly some sizeable percentage of these stores may be candidates for sale-leasebacks by the Franchisees. Sale-Leaseback activity in the franchise space has been brisk this year and a flurry of new inventory of this type is exactly what the market is looking for.

With constrained supply and high demand, these franchisees would likely have no problem doing sale-leasebacks to help them finance the store purchases, particularly if the stores in question have a good sales history and the franchisee is substantial enough.

This refranchising trend has been increasing lately largely as a mechanism of the franchisors to trim corporate overhead costs.  [1]

Why and How?

Commercial real estate owner find ways to generate revenue and increase capital. A sale-leaseback technique unlock the equity a company has in its real estate and to convert that equity into cash. This involves selling the institution’s headquarters or branch offices and simultaneously leasing them back long-term.

In addition, many property-owners are recognizing the tax benefits and other advantages of these transactions. Finance adviser/consultant can advise clients on the benefits and help them find sale lease back providers.

In general by sale-leaseback its property, a property-owners can lower its operating costs and use that money to increase its cash flow.

Six benefits of sale-lease back transactions:

1)  Favorable Impact on Earnings.  A sale-leaseback transaction converts noncurrent fixed assets such as real estate into current liquid assets— i.e. cash.  It can generate a gain on the sale when properties’ market or appraised values are more than the depreciated book value. Property-owners often can improve their earnings by reinvesting the cash at a greater rate, retiring high cost debt funding mergers and acquisitions, expanding operations, or taking advantage of special investment opportunities.

2)  Total Facility Control. Simultaneously with the sale, the company leases back the property for an initial lease term — typically 15 years with renewable five-year options. In effect this gives the company control of its real estate for at least 40 years. This would be identical to ownership of the property’s normal useful life.

3)  Low cost of Money.  A sale-leaseback transaction can be a quick economical way to raise capital compared to the process of originating a new stock issue. Issuing new stock may result in an ownership dilution at unfavorable prices or with unwanted investors.

The leaseback is a low-cost technique that avoids these consequences as a rule, a sale-leaseback transaction should provide capital at an effective cost of 100 to 150 basis points less than that of long-term mortgage financing or the long-term conventional debt market. It should have no restricted covenants and no principal repayment after all lease payments.

4)  Recapture all costs. In a typical sale-leaseback transaction, the company would recapture all costs relating to the property’s current market value, including legal fees, surveys, architectural engineering, title, and any other closing costs or property- related fees. This contrasts to conventional long-tern mortgage financing, which is usually restricted to percent of the current market value.

5)  Regulatory Compliance. The cash a business receives from a sale-leaseback transaction can help it improve its primary and total capital-to-assets ratios The profit on a sale-leaseback transaction from depreciated value to current appraised value can increase a company’s net worth.

6)  Off-balance-sheet Finance. By carefully structuring an operating lease, the transaction would not require capitalization under Financial Accounting Standards Board is criteria.  In turn, this allows off-balance-sheet treatment, which in effect would have a more favorable impact on the company’s earnings and improve its financial ratios.

RESOURCES from Amazon Corner

  1. Principles of Real Estate Syndication: With Entertainment and Oil-Gas Syndication Supplements Included
  2. Maverick Real Estate Financing: The Art of Raising Capital and Owning Properties Like Ross, Sanders and Carey
  3. Real Estate Investment
  4. Real Estate Finance

Publication

[1] Wendy’s Refranchising 640 Stores


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