Leslie Hale, president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ) participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
With over $1 billion of investment capacity, some of the multiple levers that RLJ can employ to create shareholder value include actively buying back stock, investing in the portfolio, and accretive acquisitions, Hale said.
Turning to a possible deceleration in lodging industry trends, Hale described the market as “very choppy from a fundamentals perspective.” However, “we have a strong management team that’s been through cycles before and understands how to operate in a slowing environment,” she said.
At the same time, RLJ has “a portfolio that’s better positioned relative to new supply, a CBD concentration perspective, and an overall better footprint,” she said. Hale added that the type of assets RLJ typically invests in perform better in a downturn.
Hale also said RLJ expects to deploy $150 million to $200 million on value-add opportunities in the next three to five years. Projects could include conversions, rebranding, and space reconfiguration, she noted.
Meanwhile, Hale said RLJ expects to generate “upwards of a 20% pickup in our RevPAR index” by rebranding its Wyndham portfolio.
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