UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

Annual report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

or

Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

For the transition period from            to           

Commission File Number: 001-12681

 

GLOBAL SELF STORAGE, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Maryland

 

13-3926714

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

 

Global Self Storage, Inc.

11 Hanover Square, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10005

(212) 785-0900

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Company’s principal executive offices)

Donald Klimoski II, Esq.

Global Self Storage, Inc.

11 Hanover Square, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10005

(Address of principal executive officers, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of exchange on which registered or to be registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

 

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes     No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes     No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.     Yes     No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).     Yes     No

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment of this Form 10-K.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).      Yes     No

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $35,250,115 based upon the closing price on the Nasdaq Capital Market on June 30, 2017, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter. This calculation does not reflect a determination that persons whose shares are excluded from the computation are affiliates for any other purpose.

The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, as of March 16, 2018, was 7,619,469.

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be issued in connection with the registrant’s annual stockholders’ meeting to be held in 2018 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 2.

Properties

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

 

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

23

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases
of Equity Securities

 

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

 

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of
Operations

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9B.

Other Information

 

44

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related
Stockholder Matters

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

46

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

47

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

 

49

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

49

 

2


STATEMENT ON FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATION

Certain information presented in this annual report may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward looking statements include statements concerning the Company’s plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, future revenues or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs, plans or intentions relating to acquisitions, and other information that is not historical information. In some cases, forward looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “believes,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “estimates,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “anticipates” or “intends,” or the negative of such terms or other comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy. All forward-looking statements by the Company involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, which may cause the Company’s actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements. The Company may also make additional forward looking statements from time to time. All such subsequent forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, by the Company or on its behalf, are also expressly qualified by these cautionary statements. All forward-looking statements, including without limitation, the Company’s examination of historical operating trends and estimates of future earnings, are based upon the Company’s current expectations and various assumptions. The Company’s expectations, beliefs and projections are expressed in good faith and it believes there is a reasonable basis for them, but there can be no assurance that the Company’s expectations, beliefs and projections will result or be achieved. All forward looking statements apply only as of the date made. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise forward looking statements which may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in or contemplated by this annual report.

There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in or contemplated by this report. Any forward-looking statements should be considered in light of the risks referenced in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Such factors include, but are not limited to:

 

general risks associated with the ownership and operation of real estate, including changes in demand, risks related to development of self storage properties, potential liability for environmental contamination, natural disasters and adverse changes in tax, real estate and zoning laws and regulations;

 

risks associated with downturns in the national and local economies in the markets in which we operate, including risks related to current economic conditions and the economic health of our customers;

 

the impact of competition from new and existing self storage and commercial properties and other storage alternatives;

 

difficulties in our ability to successfully evaluate, finance, integrate into our existing operations, and manage acquired and developed properties;

 

risks related to our development of new properties and/or participation in joint ventures;

 

risks of ongoing litigation and other legal and regulatory actions, which may divert management’s time and attention, require us to pay damages and expenses or restrict the operation of our business;

 

the impact of the regulatory environment as well as national, state, and local laws and regulations including, without limitation, those governing the environment, taxes and our tenant reinsurance business and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), and risks related to the impact of new laws and regulations;

 

risk of increased tax expense associated either with a possible failure by us to qualify as a REIT, or with challenges to intercompany transactions with our taxable REIT subsidiaries;

 

changes in federal or state tax laws related to the taxation of REITs, which could impact our status as a REIT;

3


 

increases in taxes, fees and assessments from state and local jurisdictions;

 

security breaches or a failure of our networks, systems or technology could adversely impact our business, customer and employee relationships;

 

our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements on favorable terms;

 

market trends in our industry, interest rates, the debt and lending markets or the general economy;

 

the timing of acquisitions and our ability to execute on our acquisition pipeline;

 

general volatility of the securities markets in which we participate;

 

changes in the value of our assets;

 

changes in interest rates and the degree to which our hedging strategies may or may not protect us from interest rate volatility;

 

our ability to continue to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes;

 

availability of qualified personnel;

 

difficulties in raising capital at a reasonable cost;

 

estimates relating to our ability to make distributions to our stockholders in the future; and

 

economic uncertainty due to the impact of terrorism or war.

4


PART I

Item 1.

Business.

General

Global Self Storage, Inc. (the “Company”) is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (“REIT”) that owns, operates, manages, acquires, develops and redevelops self storage properties (“stores” or “properties”). The Company’s stores are located in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions of the United States.

From September 1, 1983 to February 7, 1997, the Company was a diversified series of shares of Bull & Bear Incorporated, an open-end management investment company. On January 23, 1997, the Company (formerly known as Global Income Fund, Inc.) filed a Form N-8A Notification of Registration pursuant to Section 8(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), registering the Company as an investment company thereunder, and a Registration Statement on Form N-2 for closed-end investment companies. The Company commenced operations as a closed-end management investment company on February 7, 1997.

On February 29, 2012, the Company's stockholders approved a proposal to change the Company's business from an investment company to an operating company that owns, operates, manages, acquires, develops, and redevelops professionally managed self storage properties and seeks to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal tax purposes (the “Business Proposal”).

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) order approving the Company’s application to deregister from the 1940 Act was granted on January 19, 2016. Accordingly, effective January 19, 2016 and in connection with the Business Proposal, the Company changed its name to Global Self Storage, Inc. from Self Storage Group, Inc., changed its SEC registration to an operating company reporting under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), from an investment company under the 1940 Act, and listed its common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market (“NASDAQ”) under the symbol “SELF”. The Company's fiscal/taxable year ends December 31.

The Company was incorporated on December 12, 1996 under the laws of the state of Maryland. The Company has elected to be treated as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). To the extent the Company continues to qualify as a REIT, it will not generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax, with certain limited exceptions, on the taxable income that is distributed to its stockholders.

Business Activities

As of December 31, 2017, the Company had 27 total employees and owns, operates and manages, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, eleven stores located in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. As of December 31, 2017, these properties total 748,017 net leasable square feet and offer 5,530 storage units. In addition to traditional and climate-controlled units, many of the properties feature both covered and outside auto/RV/boat storage. The Company invests in stores by acquiring stores through its wholly owned subsidiaries and operates primarily in one segment:  rental operations.  

We continue to evaluate and enact a range of new initiatives and opportunities in order to help enable us maximize our stores’ financial performance and stockholder value. Our strategies in seeking to maximize our stores’ financial performance and stockholder value include, among others, the following:

 

continue to implement and refine our move-in rate management systems in seeking to maximize occupancies and thus revenue derived from our store portfolio;

 

continue to implement and refine our existing tenant revenue rate management systems in seeking to maximize revenue per leased square foot from our store portfolio;

 

continue to implement and refine our digital, drive-by, and referral marketing programs in seeking to attract more and higher quality (e.g. credit card paying) customers to our stores at a lower net cost; and

5


 

continue to pursue the acquisition of single stores and small portfolios that we believe can add stockholder value.

Our stores are generally located in densely populated and high traffic areas near major roads and highways. All of our stores display prominent road signage and most feature LED marquee boards describing the store features and move-in rent specials. Our stores are generally located in areas with strict zoning laws and attentive planning boards which make it difficult for our competition to develop new properties near ours. As we evaluate potential stores, we seek stores in areas with these high barriers to entry.

Most of our stores compete with other well-managed and well-located competitors and we are subject to general economic conditions, particularly those that affect the spending habits of consumers and moving trends. Because we operate in competitive markets, often where self storage consumers have multiple stores from which to choose, such competition has affected and is likely to continue to affect our store results. We experience seasonal fluctuations in occupancy levels as well, with occupancy levels generally higher in the summer months due to increased moving activity. We believe that our centralized information networks, national telephone and online reservation system, the brand name “Global Self Storage,” and our economies of scale help enable us to meet such challenges effectively.

In seeking to maximize the performance of our stores, we employ our proprietary revenue rate management systems which help us to analyze, adjust, and set our move-in and existing tenant rental rates on a real-time basis across our portfolio. Among other technologies, we employ internet data scraping of our local competitors’ move-in rental rates to help enable us to proactively respond and take advantage of changing market conditions across our portfolio of stores. Our operating results typically depend significantly on our ability to manage our storage units’ rental rates, to respond in a timely manner to prospective tenant inquiries, and to lease available storage units, and on the ability of our tenants to make required storage unit rental payments.

We have registered the trademark and developed the brand “Global Self Storage.” We have developed a corporate logo and have incorporated it on all of our on-site signage, advertising and other marketing materials. This branding process has included the creation and development of the www.GlobalSelfStorage.us website, whereby prospective customers can rent a storage unit or learn about the features of any of our self storage properties in their various locations. We continue to develop the Global Self Storage internet presence through advertising and search engine optimization. We solicit tenant reviews for posting to the “Testimonials” section of our website and encourage others to view these reviews. We have found that a reliable source of new tenants is through referrals of current tenants. Existing self storage customers may also pay their storage unit rent online through www.GlobalSelfStorage.us.

Attracting high quality, long-term tenants is a top priority for the Company and we strongly believe in tenant quality over tenant quantity. In our marketing efforts, we have seen success in our referral marketing program, through which our tenants may recommend Global Self Storage to their family, friends, and colleagues. We also believe our store managers’ attention to detail – maintaining security, cleanliness, and attentive customer service – is essential to attracting high quality tenants.

Tenant leases at all of our stores are “month-to-month” leases. We seek to deliver at least 30 days’ written notice of any rental rate change. Lease rates at each store may be set monthly, semi-annually, annually, or at any other time on a case-by-case basis as determined in the discretion of management. Tenants may be assessed late, administrative, and/or other fees. To date, none of the Company’s stores have experienced any material delinquencies.

Each of our stores features a rental and payment center kiosk available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where prospective tenants can rent a unit and current tenants can pay their rent. All of our stores have on-site property managers who are committed to delivering the finest customer service. We utilize a customer call center to handle telephone inquiries from current and prospective tenants whenever our store managers are not available. They can respond to questions about our properties and storage features, and book reservations. We seek to deliver convenience and high quality customer service to our tenants, as well as maintain clean and secure stores at all times.

6


Please refer to Item 7 herein for further discussion of, among other things, competitive business conditions, the Company’s competitive position in the self storage industry, methods of competition, and the effect of existing or probable government regulations on the Company’s business. The public may read and copy any materials the Company has filed with the SEC at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days during the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains an Internet site at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. Additional information about the Company, not contained in this form or made a part hereof, may be found at www.GlobalSelfStorage.us.  

Our Acquisition Strategy

In our store acquisition strategy, we will seek to continue to focus on secondary and tertiary cities in the Mid-West, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic parts of the country where we believe there is relatively less self storage space per capita available, generally resulting in greater demand for available self storage square feet; where new self storage development and permitting through the local planning and zoning boards is typically more difficult to secure thus creating barriers to entry for new self storage competition; and where local new supply through new development is generally less threatening.

We continue to review available acquisition opportunities with the awareness that, should interest rates increase, resulting store capitalization rates may also increase and store prices may begin to decrease. We will seek to continue to employ our strict acquisition underwriting standards and remain a disciplined buyer and only execute acquisitions where we believe that our management techniques and innovations can strengthen our portfolio and increase stockholder value. For future acquisitions, the Company may use various financing and capital raising alternatives including, but not limited to, debt and/or equity offerings, credit facilities, mortgage financing, and joint ventures with third parties.

Our Financing Strategy

Our financing strategy is to minimize the cost of our capital in order to maximize the returns generated for our stockholders.    

On June 24, 2016, certain of our wholly owned subsidiaries (“Secured Subsidiaries”) entered into a loan agreement and certain other related agreements (collectively, the “Loan Agreement”) between the Secured Subsidiaries and Insurance Strategy Funding IV, LLC (the “Lender”). Under the Loan Agreement, the Secured Subsidiaries borrowed from Lender the principal amount of $20 million pursuant to a promissory note (the “Promissory Note”). The Promissory Note bears interest at a rate equal to 4.192% per annum and is due to mature on July 1, 2036. Pursuant to a security agreement (the “Security Agreement”), the obligations under the Loan Agreement are secured by certain real estate assets owned by the Secured Subsidiaries. J.P. Morgan Investment Management, Inc. acted as Special Purpose Vehicle Agent of the Lender. We entered into a non-recourse guaranty (the “Guaranty” and together with the Loan Agreement, the Promissory Note and the Security Agreement, the “Loan Documents”) on June 24, 2016 to guarantee the payment to Lender of certain obligations of the Secured Subsidiaries under the Loan Agreement. We have used some of the proceeds from the Loan Agreement to acquire four new self storage properties.

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors.

 

An investment in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the following risk factors, together with the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of the risks discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

7


Risks Related to our Self Storage Properties and our Business

Adverse economic or other conditions in the markets in which we do business and more broadly could negatively affect our occupancy levels and rental rates and therefore our operating results.

Our operating results are dependent upon our ability to achieve optimal occupancy levels and rental rates at our self storage properties. Adverse economic or other conditions in the markets in which we do business, may lower our occupancy levels and limit our ability to maintain or increase rents or require us to offer rental discounts. No single customer represents a significant concentration of our revenues. The following adverse developments, among others, in the markets in which we do business may adversely affect the operating performance of our properties:

 

 

o

perceptions by prospective tenants of our self storage properties of the safety, convenience, and attractiveness of such properties and the areas in which they are located;

 

o

industry slowdowns, relocation of businesses and changing demographics may adversely impact the markets in which we invest and in which our self storage properties operate;

 

o

periods of economic slowdown or recession, rising interest rates, or declining demand for self storage or the public perception that any of these events may occur could result in a general decline in rental rates or an increase in tenant defaults; and

 

o

actual or perceived oversupply or declining demand for self storage in a particular area.

Our storage leases are relatively short-term in nature, which exposes us to the risk that we may have to re-lease our units and we may be unable to do so on attractive terms, on a timely basis or at all.

If we are unable to promptly re-let our units or if the rates upon such re-letting are significantly lower than expected, then our business and results of operations would be adversely affected. Any delay in re-letting units as vacancies arise would reduce our revenues and harm our operating results. In addition, lower than expected rental rates upon re-letting could adversely affect our revenues and impede our growth.

 

Increases in taxes and regulatory compliance costs may reduce our income and adversely impact our cash flows.

Increases in income or other taxes generally are not passed through to tenants under leases and may reduce our net income, funds from operations (“FFO”), cash flows, financial condition, ability to pay or refinance our debt obligations, ability to make cash distributions to stockholders, and the trading price of our securities. Similarly, changes in laws increasing the potential liability for environmental conditions existing on properties or increasing the restrictions on discharges or other conditions may result in significant unanticipated expenditures, which could result in similar adverse effects.

Our property taxes could increase due to various reasons, including a reassessment, which could adversely impact our operating results and cash flow.

The value of our properties may be reassessed for property tax purposes by taxing authorities including as a result of the acquisition of new self storage properties. Accordingly, the amount of property taxes we pay in the future may increase substantially from what we have paid in the past. Increases in property or other taxes generally are not passed through to tenants under leases and may reduce our results of operations and cash flow, and could be adversely affect our ability to pay any expected dividends to our stockholders.

Increases in operating costs may adversely affect our results of operation and cash flow.

Increases in operating costs, including insurance costs, labor costs, utilities, capital improvements, real estate assessments and other taxes and costs of compliance with REIT requirements and with other laws, regulations and governmental policies could adversely affect our results of operation and cash flow.

 

8


We depend upon our on-site personnel to maximize tenant satisfaction at each of our properties, and any difficulties we encounter in hiring, training, and maintaining skilled field personnel may harm our operating performance.

We depend upon our on-site personnel to maximize tenant satisfaction at each of our properties, and any difficulties we encounter in hiring, training and maintaining skilled field personnel may harm our operating performance. The general professionalism of a site’s managers and staff are contributing factors to a site’s ability to successfully secure rentals and retain tenants. If we are unable to successfully recruit, train and retain qualified field personnel, our quality of service could be adversely affected, which could lead to decreased occupancy levels and reduced operating performance.

 

We face competition from other self storage properties, which may adversely impact the markets in which we invest and in which our self storage properties operate.

Increased competition in the self storage business has led to both pricing and discount pressures. This increased competition could limit our ability to increase revenues in the markets in which we may operate. While some markets may be able to absorb an increase in self storage properties due to superior demographics and density, other markets may not be able to absorb additional properties and may not perform as well.

 

Rental revenues are significantly influenced by demand for self storage space generally, and a decrease in such demand would likely have a greater adverse effect on our rental revenues than if we owned a more diversified real estate portfolio or if we owned a larger number of self storage properties.

Because our portfolio of properties consists of only self storage properties, we are subject to risks inherent in investments in a single industry. A decrease in the demand for self storage space would have a greater adverse effect on our rental revenues than it would if we owned a more diversified real estate portfolio. Demand for self storage space has been and could be adversely affected by ongoing weakness in the national, regional and local economies, changes in supply of, or demand for, similar or competing self storage properties in an area and the excess amount of self storage space in a particular market. To the extent that any of these conditions occur, they are likely to affect market rents for self storage space, which could cause a decrease in our rental revenue. Any such decrease could impair our operating results, ability to satisfy debt service obligations and ability to make cash distributions to our stockholders.

 

Further, we invest in a limited number of self storage properties. As a result, the potential effect on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash available for distribution to stockholders, resulting from poor performance at one or more of our self storage properties could be more pronounced than if we invested in a larger number of self storage properties.

 

We may not be successful in identifying and consummating suitable acquisitions, or integrating and operating acquired properties, which may adversely impact our growth.

We expect to make future acquisitions of self storage properties. We may not be successful in identifying and consummating suitable acquisitions that meet our criteria, which may impede our growth. We may encounter competition when we seek to acquire properties, especially for brokered portfolios. Aggressive bidding practices by prospective acquirers have been commonplace and this competition also may be a challenge for our growth strategy and potentially result in our paying higher prices for acquisitions including paying consideration for certain properties that may exceed the value of such properties. Should we pay higher prices for self storage properties or other assets, our potential profitability may be reduced. Also, when we acquire any self storage properties, we will be required to integrate them into our then existing portfolio. The acquired properties may turn out to be less compatible with our growth strategy than originally anticipated, may cause disruptions in our operations or may divert management’s attention away from day-to-day operations, which could impair our results of operations. Our ability to acquire or integrate properties may also be constrained by the following additional risks:

 

 

o

the inability to achieve satisfactory completion of due diligence investigations and other customary closing conditions;

9


 

o

spending more than the time and amounts budgeted to make necessary improvements or renovations to acquired properties;

 

o

the inability to build a captive pipeline of target properties that meet our rigorous underwriting standards;

 

o

the inability to accurately estimate occupancy levels, rental rates, operating costs or costs of improvements to bring an acquired property up to the standards established for our intended market position; and

 

o

encountering delays in the selection, acquisition, development or redevelopment of self storage properties which could adversely affect returns to stockholders and stockholders could suffer delays in the distribution of cash dividends attributable to any such properties.

We may not be able to develop a captive pipeline of acquisition targets without the use of non-refundable deposits.

We may be required to use non-refundable deposits to develop a captive pipeline of acquisition targets. If we are unable to raise the capital necessary to consummate such acquisitions we may be forced to abandon all or some of the acquisitions and forfeit any non-refundable deposits. If this occurs, it could adversely impact our operating results and our ability to pay any expected dividends to our stockholders.

 

We may acquire properties subject to liabilities which may adversely impact our operating results.

We may acquire properties subject to liabilities without any recourse, or with only limited recourse, with respect to unknown liabilities such as liabilities for clean-up of undisclosed environmental contamination, claims by persons dealing with the former owners of the properties and claims for indemnification by general partners, directors, officers and others indemnified by the former owners of the properties. The costs associated with these liabilities may adversely impact our operating results.

 

Our investments in development and redevelopment projects may not yield anticipated returns which could adversely impact our economic performance.

In deciding whether to develop or redevelop a particular property, we make certain assumptions regarding the expected future performance of that property. These assumptions are inherently uncertain, and, if they prove to be wrong, then we may be subject to certain risks including the following:

 

 

we may not complete development projects on schedule or within projected budgeted amounts;

 

we may underestimate the costs necessary to bring a property up to the standards established for its intended market position;

 

we may encounter delays or refusals in obtaining all necessary zoning, land use, building, occupancy and other required governmental permits and authorizations;

 

we may be unable to increase occupancy at a newly acquired property as quickly as expected or at all; and

 

we may be unable to obtain financing for these projects on favorable terms or at all.

The occurrence of such events could adversely affect the investment returns from these development or redevelopment projects and may adversely impact our economic performance.

Our performance is subject to risks associated with the real estate industry.

An investment in us is closely linked to the performance of the real estate markets in which we own self storage properties and subject to the risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate, including fluctuations

10


in interest rates, inflation or deflation; declines in the value of real estate; and competition from other real estate investors with significant capital. Prevailing economic conditions affecting the real estate industry may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our properties.

We may be unable to promptly sell one or more properties in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any property for the price or on the terms set by us or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We may be required to expend funds to correct defects or to make improvements before a property can be sold. We cannot give assurances that we will have funds available to correct those defects or to make those improvements. In acquiring a property, we may agree to transfer restrictions that materially restrict us from selling that property for a period of time or impose other restrictions, such as a limitation on the amount of debt that can be placed or repaid on that property. These transfer restrictions may impede our ability to sell a property even if we deem it necessary or appropriate. We may also have joint venture investments in certain of our properties and, consequently, our ability to control decisions relating to such properties may be limited.

 

Any negative perceptions of the self storage industry generally may result in a decline in our stock price.

To the extent that the investing public has a negative perception of the self storage industry, the value of our securities may be negatively impacted.

 

Costs associated with complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 may result in unanticipated expenses.

Our self storage properties also are subject to risks related to changes in, and changes in enforcement of, federal, state and local laws, regulations and governmental policies, including fire and safety requirements, health, zoning and tax laws, governmental fiscal policies and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). Local regulations, including municipal or local ordinances, zoning restrictions and restrictive covenants imposed by community developers may restrict our use of our properties and may require us to obtain approval from local officials or community standards organizations at any time with respect to our properties, including prior to acquiring a property or when undertaking renovations of any of our existing properties. Further, compliance with the ADA and other regulations may require us to make unanticipated expenditures that could significantly reduce cash available for distribution to stockholders. A failure to comply with the ADA or similar state laws could lead to government imposed fines on us and/or litigation, which could also involve an award of damages to individuals affected by the noncompliance. Such noncompliance also could result in an order to correct any noncomplying feature, which could result in substantial capital expenditures.

 

Extensive environmental regulation to which we are subject creates uncertainty regarding future environmental expenditures and liabilities.

Under environmental regulations such as the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act, owners and operators of real estate may be liable for the costs of investigating and remediating certain hazardous substances or other regulated materials on or in such property. Such laws often impose liability, without regard to knowledge or fault, for removal or remediation of hazardous substances or other regulated materials upon owners and operators of contaminated property, even after they no longer own or operate the property. Moreover, the past or present owner or operator of a property from which a release emanates could be liable for any personal injuries or property damages that may result from such releases, as well as any damages to natural resources that may arise from such releases. The presence of such substances or materials, or the failure to properly remediate such substances, may adversely affect the owner’s or operator’s ability to lease, sell or rent such property or to borrow using such property as collateral.

 

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We may become subject to litigation or threatened litigation or other claims that may divert management’s time and attention, require us to pay damages and expenses or restrict the operation of our business.

We may become subject to disputes with commercial parties with whom we maintain relationships or other parties with whom we do business. Any such dispute could result in litigation between us and the other parties. Whether or not any dispute actually proceeds to litigation, we may be required to devote significant management time and attention to its successful resolution (through litigation, settlement or otherwise), which would detract from our management’s ability to focus on our business. Any such resolution could involve the payment of damages or expenses by us, which may be significant. In addition, any such resolution could involve our agreement with terms that restrict the operation of our business.

 

From time to time we may be required to resolve tenant claims and litigation and employment-related claims and litigation by corporate level and field personnel which could result in substantial liabilities to us. We also could be sued for personal injuries and/or property damage occurring at our properties. The liability insurance we maintain may not cover all costs and expenses arising from such lawsuits.

 

Uninsured losses or losses in excess of our insurance coverage could adversely affect our financial condition and cash flow.

We maintain comprehensive liability, fire, flood, earthquake, wind, extended coverage and rental loss insurance (as deemed necessary or as required by our lenders, if any) with respect to our properties. Certain types of losses, however, may be either uninsurable or not economically insurable, such as losses due to earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, acts of war or terrorism. Should an uninsured loss occur, we could lose both our investment in and anticipated profits and cash flow from a property. In addition, if any such loss is insured, we may be required to pay significant amounts on any claim for recovery of such a loss prior to our insurer being obligated to reimburse us for the loss, or the amount of the loss may exceed our coverage for the loss.

 

To the extent we invest in publicly traded REITs, our performance may be subject to the risks of investment in such securities.

The value of our investments in REITs may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. Because REITs concentrate their assets in the real estate industry, the performance of REITs is closely linked to the performance of the real estate markets. Property values may fall due to increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from economic, legal, cultural or technological developments, rising interest rates, and rising capitalization rates. REIT prices also may drop because of the failure of borrowers to pay their loans and poor management. In addition, there are specific risks associated with particular sectors of real estate investments such as self storage, retail, office, hotel, healthcare, and multi-family properties. Many REITs utilize leverage, which increases investment risk and could adversely affect a REIT’s operations and market value in periods of rising interest rates as well as risks normally associated with debt financing. In addition, a REIT’s failure to qualify as a REIT under the Code or failure to maintain exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act could adversely affect our operations and our qualification as a REIT under the Code. The failure of these investments to perform as expected may have a significant effect on our performance and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.

 

We may be unable to make distributions in the future, maintain our current level of distributions or increase distributions over time.

There are many factors that can affect the availability and timing of cash distributions to stockholders and the determination to make distributions will fall within the discretion of our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors’ decisions to pay distributions will depend on many factors, such as our historical and projected results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and liquidity, maintenance of our REIT qualification and other tax considerations, capital expenditure and other expense obligations, debt covenants, contractual prohibitions or other limitations and applicable law and such other matters as our Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time. Actual cash available for distributions may vary substantially from estimates. We may not have sufficient available cash from operations to make a distribution required to qualify for or maintain our REIT status. We may be required to borrow or make distributions that would constitute a return of capital which may reduce the amount of capital we invest in self storage properties. We cannot assure stockholders that we will be able to make distributions

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in the future, be able to maintain our current level of distributions or that our distributions will increase over time, and our inability to make distributions, or to make distributions at expected levels, could result in a decrease in the market price of our common stock.

 

We rely on information technology in our operations, and any material failure, inadequacy, interruption or security failure of that technology could harm our business.

We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the internet, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business process, including financial transaction and record, personally identifiable information, and tenant and lease data. We purchase some of our information technology from vendors, on whom our systems depend. We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmission and storage of confidential tenant and other sensitive information. Although we have taken steps to protect the security of our information systems and the data maintained in those systems, it is possible that our safety and security measures will not be able to prevent the systems’ improper functioning or damage, or the improper access or disclosure of personally identifiable information such as in the event of cyber-attacks. Security breaches, including physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses, attacks by hackers and similar breaches, can create system disruptions, shutdowns or unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. While, to date, we have not experienced a security breach, this risk has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of such breaches and attempted breaches from around the world have increased. Any failure to maintain proper function, security and availability of our information systems could interrupt our operations, damage our reputation, divert significant management attention and resources to remedy any damages that result, subject us to liability claims or regulatory penalties and have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Privacy concerns could result in regulatory changes that may harm our business.

Personal privacy has become a significant issue in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Many jurisdictions in which we operate have imposed restrictions and requirements on the use of personal information by those collecting such information. Changes to law or regulations affecting privacy, if applicable to our business, could impose additional costs and liability on us and could limit our use and disclosure of such information.

 

Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure

Management has limited prior experience operating a REIT and complying with the income, asset and other limitations imposed by the REIT provisions of the Code.

Management has limited prior experience operating a REIT. The REIT provisions of the Code are complex and the failure to comply with those provisions could cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT or could force us to pay unexpected taxes and penalties. Managing a portfolio of self storage properties under such constraints may hinder our ability to achieve our objectives. We have elected to qualify as a REIT under the Code, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013, and intend to continue to qualify as a REIT in 2018.

 

The ability of our Board of Directors to revoke our REIT election without stockholder approval may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.

Our Board of Directors may revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election without the approval of stockholders if it determines that it is no longer in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT. If we cease to qualify as a REIT, we would become subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income and would no longer be required to distribute most of our net taxable income to stockholders, which may have adverse consequences on the total return to our stockholders.

 

Our business could be harmed if key personnel with business experience in the self storage industry terminate their employment with us.

Our officers have experience in the self storage industry and our success will depend, to a significant extent, on their services. There is no guarantee that any of them will remain employed with us. We do not generally

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maintain key person life insurance. The loss of services of one or more members of our senior management could harm our business.

 

Our management has limited experience operating a public company and therefore may have difficulty in successfully and profitably operating our business, or complying with regulatory requirements.

Our management has had limited experience operating a public company. As a result, we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully execute our business strategies as a public company or comply with regulatory requirements applicable to public companies.

There may be conflicts of interest resulting from the relationships among us, our affiliates, and other related parties.

The outside business interests of our officers may divert their time and attention away from us, and may result in a potential conflict with respect to the allocation of business opportunities, which could harm our business. Our Board of Directors has adopted policies and procedures designed to mitigate these conflicts of interest, such as allocation procedures for determining the appropriate allocation of such business opportunities. Specifically, if any of our officers or directors who also serves as an officer, director, or advisor of our affiliates becomes aware of a potential transaction related primarily to the self storage business that may represent a corporate opportunity for us and one or more of our affiliates, such officer or director has no duty to present that opportunity to such affiliates and we will have the sole right to pursue the transaction if our Board of Directors so determines. Notwithstanding the foregoing, our officers or directors are encouraged to notify our affiliates of such an opportunity.

 

Certain provisions of Maryland law could inhibit changes in control of our company.

Certain “business combination” and “control share acquisition” provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law, or the MGCL, may have the effect of deterring a third party from making a proposal to acquire us or of impeding a change in control under circumstances that otherwise could provide the holders of our common stock with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then-prevailing market price of our common stock. Pursuant to the MGCL, our Board of Directors has by resolution exempted business combinations between us and any other person. Our bylaws contain a provision exempting from the control share acquisition statute any and all acquisitions by any person of shares of our stock. However, there can be no assurance that these exemptions will not be amended or eliminated at any time in the future. Our charter and bylaws and Maryland law also contain other provisions that may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders otherwise believe to be in their best interest.

Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to take action against our directors and officers are limited, which could limit your recourse in the event of actions not in your best interest.

Our charter limits the liability of our present and former directors and officers to us and our stockholders for money damages to the maximum extent permitted under Maryland law. Under current Maryland law, our present and former directors and officers will not have any liability to us or our stockholders for money damages other than liability resulting from:

 

actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services; or

 

active and deliberate dishonesty by the director or officer that was established by a final judgment and is material to the cause of action.

 

 

Our charter authorizes us to indemnify our present and former directors and officers for actions taken by them in those capacities to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law. Our bylaws require us to indemnify each present and former director or officer, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, in connection with any proceeding to which he or she is made, or threatened to be made, a party to or witness in by reason of his or her service to us as a director or officer or in certain other capacities. In addition, we may be obligated to pay or reimburse the expenses incurred by our present and former directors and officers without requiring a preliminary determination of their ultimate entitlement to indemnification. As a result, we and our stockholders may have more limited rights against our present and former directors and officers than might otherwise exist absent the current

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provisions in our charter and bylaws or that might exist with other companies, which could limit your recourse in the event of actions not in your best interest.

Our charter contains provisions that make removal of our directors difficult, which could make it difficult for our stockholders to effect changes to our management.

Our charter provides that, subject to the rights of holders of one or more classes or series of preferred shares, a director may be removed with cause, by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. Vacancies on our Board of Directors generally may be filled only by a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if less than a quorum. These requirements make it more difficult to change our management by removing and replacing directors and may prevent a change in our control that is in the best interests of our stockholders.

We may change our investment and financing strategies and enter into new lines of business without stockholder consent, which may subject us to different risks.

We may change our investment and financing strategies and enter into new lines of business at any time without the consent of our stockholders, which could result in our making investments and engaging in business activities that are different from, and possibly riskier than, the investments and businesses described in this document. A change in our investment strategy or our entry into new lines of business may increase our exposure to other risks or real estate market fluctuations.

 

If other self storage companies convert to a REIT structure or if tax laws change, we may no longer have an advantage in competing for potential acquisitions.

Because we are structured as a REIT, we are a more attractive acquirer of properties to tax-motivated sellers than our competitors that are not structured as REITs. However, if other self storage companies restructure their holdings to become REITs, this competitive advantage will disappear. In addition, new legislation may be enacted or new interpretations of existing legislation may be issued by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), or the U.S. Treasury Department that could affect the attractiveness of the REIT structure so that it may no longer assist us in competing for acquisitions.

 

Our Board of Directors has the power to issue additional shares of our stock in a manner that may not be in the best interest of our stockholders.

Our charter authorizes our Board of Directors to issue additional authorized but unissued shares of common stock or preferred stock and to increase the aggregate number of authorized shares or the number of shares of any class or series without stockholder approval. In addition, our Board of Directors may classify or reclassify any unissued shares of common stock or preferred stock and set the preferences, rights and other terms of the classified or reclassified shares. Our Board of Directors could issue additional shares of our common stock or establish a series of preferred stock that could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control or other transaction that might involve a premium price for our securities or otherwise not be in the best interests of our stockholders.

 

Restrictions on ownership and transfer of our shares may restrict change of control or business combination opportunities in which our stockholders might receive a premium for their shares.

 

In order for us to qualify as a REIT for each taxable year after our taxable year ended December 31, 2013, no more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares may be owned, directly or constructively, by five or fewer individuals during the last half of any calendar year, and at least 100 persons must beneficially own our shares during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months, or during a proportionate portion of a shorter taxable year. “Individuals” for this purpose include natural persons, private foundations, some employee benefit plans and trusts, and some charitable trusts. Our charter contains, among other things, such customary provisions related to our current operation as a REIT and such other provisions that are consistent with the corporate governance profile of our public peers, including certain customary ownership limitations that prohibit, among other limitations, any person from beneficially or constructively owning more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding share of our common stock or all classes and series of our capital stock. These

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ownership limits and the other restrictions on ownership and transfer of our shares in our charter could have the effect of discouraging a takeover or other transaction in which holders of our common stock might receive a premium for their shares over the then prevailing market price or which holders might believe to be otherwise in their best interests.

 

Risks Related to Our Debt Financings

Disruptions in the financial markets could affect our ability to obtain debt financing on reasonable terms or at all and have other adverse effects.

Uncertainty in the credit markets may negatively impact our ability to access additional debt financing or to refinance existing debt maturities on favorable terms (or at all), which may negatively affect our ability to make acquisitions. A downturn in the credit markets may cause us to seek alternative sources of potentially less attractive financing, and may require us to adjust our business plans accordingly. In addition, these factors may make it more difficult for us to sell properties or may adversely affect the price we receive for properties that we do sell, as prospective buyers may experience increased costs of debt financing or difficulties in obtaining debt financing.

 

We depend on external sources of capital that are outside of our control, which could adversely affect our ability to acquire or develop properties, satisfy our debt obligations and/or make distributions to stockholders.

We depend on external sources of capital to acquire properties, to satisfy our debt obligations and to make distributions to our stockholders required to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and these sources of capital may not be available on favorable terms, or at all. Our access to external sources of capital depends on a number of factors, including the market’s perception of our growth potential and our current and potential future earnings and our ability to continue to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If we are unable to obtain external sources of capital, we may not be able to acquire properties when strategic opportunities exist, satisfy our debt obligations or make cash distributions to our stockholders that would permit us to qualify as a REIT or avoid paying U.S. federal income tax on all of our net taxable income.

 

The terms and covenants relating to our indebtedness could adversely impact our economic performance.

The Loan Documentation for our credit facility contains (and any new or amended facility we may enter into from time to time will likely contain) customary affirmative and negative covenants, including financial covenants that, among other things, require us to comply with a minimum net worth (as defined in our Loan Documentation) of at least the outstanding principal balance of the loan and a minimum liquidity standard of at least 10% of the outstanding principal balance of the loan (as defined in our Loan Documentation). In the event that we fail to satisfy our covenants, we would be in default under our Loan Documentation and may be required to repay such debt with capital from other sources. Under such circumstances, other sources of debt or equity capital may not be available to us, or may be available only on unattractive terms. Moreover, the presence of such covenants could cause us to operate our business with a view toward compliance with such covenants, which might not produce optimal returns for stockholders.

Risks Related to Our Qualification as a REIT

Our failure to qualify or remain qualified as a REIT would subject us to U.S. federal income tax and applicable state and local taxes, which would reduce the amount of operating cash flow to stockholders.

We have elected, and believe that we have been qualified, to be taxed as a REIT commencing with the taxable year ended December 31, 2013. Qualification for treatment as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and extremely complex Code provisions for which there are only limited judicial and administrative interpretations. The determination of various factual matters and circumstances not entirely within our control may affect our ability to qualify for REIT treatment. To qualify as a REIT, we must meet, on an ongoing basis through actual operating results, various tests regarding the nature and diversification of our assets and our income, the ownership of our outstanding shares and the amount of our distributions. Our compliance with the REIT income and quarterly asset requirements also depends upon our ability to manage successfully the composition of our income and assets on an ongoing basis. Our ability to satisfy these asset tests depends upon an analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we will not obtain independent appraisals. In addition, we have held and may continue to hold

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investments in other publicly traded REITs. If any such publicly traded REIT fails to qualify as a REIT with respect to any period during which we hold or have held shares of such REIT, our ability to satisfy the REIT requirements could be adversely affected. Moreover, new legislation, court decisions or administrative guidance may, in each case possibly with retroactive effect, make it more difficult or impossible for us to qualify as a REIT. Thus, while we believe that we have been organized and operated and intend to operate so that we will continue to qualify as a REIT, given the highly complex nature of the rules governing REITs, the ongoing importance of factual determinations and the possibility of future changes in our circumstances, no assurance can be given that we have qualified or will so qualify for any particular year. These considerations also might restrict the types of assets that we can acquire or services that we can provide in the future. We have not requested and do not plan to request a ruling from the IRS regarding our qualification as a REIT.

If we fail to qualify for treatment as a REIT at any time and do not qualify for certain statutory relief provisions, we would be required to pay U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income, and possibly could be required to borrow money or sell assets to pay that tax, thus substantially reducing the funds available for distribution for each year involved. Unless entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we would also be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we lost our qualification. In addition, all distributions to stockholders, including capital gain dividends, would be subject to tax as regular dividends to the extent of our earnings and profits.

Even if we qualify as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow.

Even though we believe that we currently qualify for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a REIT, we may face tax liabilities that will reduce our cash flow, including taxes on any undistributed income, alternative minimum taxes, state or local income and property and transfer taxes, including real property transfer taxes. In addition, we could, in certain circumstances, be required to pay an excise or penalty tax (which could be significant in amount) in order to utilize one or more relief provisions under the Code to maintain our qualification as a REIT. Any of these taxes would decrease operating cash flow to our stockholders. In addition, in order to meet the REIT qualification requirements, or to avert the imposition of a 100% tax that applies to certain gains derived by a REIT from dealer property or inventory, we may hold some of our assets or provide certain services to our tenants through one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRSs”), or other subsidiary corporations that will be subject to corporate-level income tax at regular corporate rates. Any TRSs or other taxable corporations in which we invest will be subject to U.S. federal, state and local corporate taxes. Furthermore, if we acquire appreciated assets from a corporation that is or has been a subchapter C corporation in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of such assets in the our hands is less than the fair market value of the assets, determined at the time we acquired such assets, and if we subsequently dispose of any such assets during the 5-year period (or with respect to certain prior years the 10-year period) following the acquisition of the assets from the C corporation, we will be subject to tax at the highest corporate tax rates on any gain from the disposition of such assets to the extent of the excess of the fair market value of the assets on the date that we acquired such assets over the basis of such assets on such date, which are referred to as built-in gains. Payment of these taxes generally could materially and adversely affect our income, cash flow, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and prospects, and could adversely affect the value of our common stock and the ability to make distributions to stockholders.

To maintain our REIT qualification, we may be forced to borrow funds during unfavorable market conditions.

In order to maintain our REIT qualification and avoid the payment of income and excise taxes, we may need to borrow funds to meet the REIT distribution requirements even if the then prevailing market conditions are not favorable for these borrowings. These borrowing needs could result from, among other things, timing differences between the actual receipt of cash and inclusion of income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, or the effect of non-deductible capital expenditures, the creation of reserves or required debt or amortization payments. These sources, however, may not be available on favorable terms or at all. Our access to third-party sources of capital depends on a number of factors, including the market’s perception of our growth potential, current debt levels, the per share trading price of our common stock, and our current and potential future earnings. We cannot assure you that we will have access to such capital on favorable terms at the desired times, or at all, which may cause us to curtail investment activities and/or to dispose of assets at inopportune times, and could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and our ability to pay distributions on, and the per share trading price of, our common stock.

Failure to make required distributions would subject us to tax, which would reduce the operating cash flow to stockholders.

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Failure to make required distributions would subject us to tax, which would reduce the operating cash flow to our stockholders. In order to qualify as a REIT, we must distribute to our stockholders each calendar year at least 90% of our net taxable income (excluding net capital gain). To the extent that we satisfy the 90% distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our net taxable income (including net capital gain), we would be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our undistributed net taxable income. In addition, we will incur a 4% non-deductible excise tax on the amount, if any, by which our distributions in any calendar year are less than a minimum amount specified under U.S. federal income tax laws.  Although we intend to distribute our net taxable income to our stockholders in a manner intended to satisfy the REIT 90% distribution requirement and to avoid the 4% non-deductible excise tax, it is possible that we, from time to time, may not have sufficient cash to distribute 100% of our net taxable income. There may be timing differences between our actual receipt of cash and the inclusion of items in our income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will be able to distribute net taxable income to stockholders in a manner that satisfies the REIT distribution requirements and avoids the 4% non-deductible excise tax.

Complying with the REIT requirements may cause us to forgo and/or liquidate otherwise attractive investments.

To qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal tax purposes, we must continually satisfy various requirements concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders, and the ownership of shares. Among other requirements, to qualify as a REIT, we must ensure that at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year, excluding certain amounts, is derived from certain real property-related sources, and at least 95% of our gross income for each taxable year, excluding certain amounts, is derived from certain real property-related sources and passive income such as dividends and interest. In addition, we must ensure that, at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our total assets consists of cash, cash items, U.S. government securities and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities generally cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. government securities, securities of corporations that are treated as TRSs and qualified real estate assets) or more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer (other than government securities, securities of corporations that are treated as TRSs and qualified real estate assets). In addition, in general, no more than 5% of the value of our assets can consist of the securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. government securities, securities of corporations that are treated as TRSs and qualified real estate assets), no more than 20% of the value of our total assets can be represented by securities of one or more TRSs and no more than 20% of the value of our assets can consist of debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs that are not otherwise secured by real property. If we fail to comply with these asset requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences.

To meet these tests, we may be required to take or forgo taking actions that we would otherwise consider advantageous. For instance, in order to satisfy the gross income or asset tests applicable to REITs under the Code, we may be required to forgo investments that we otherwise would make. Furthermore, we may be required to liquidate from our portfolio otherwise attractive investments. In addition, we may be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution. These actions could reduce our income and amounts available for distribution to stockholders. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our investment performance.

We may be subject to a 100% tax on income from “prohibited transactions,” and this tax may limit our ability to sell assets or require us to restructure certain of our activities in order to avoid being subject to the tax.

We are subject to a 100% tax on any income from a prohibited transaction. “Prohibited transactions” generally include sales or other dispositions of property (other than property treated as foreclosure property under the Code) that is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business by a REIT, either directly or indirectly through certain pass-through subsidiaries. The characterization of an asset sale as a prohibited transaction depends on the particular facts and circumstances.

The 100% tax will not apply to gains from the sale of inventory that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate income tax rates. To the extent that we sell inventory such as locks, boxes and packing supplies, other than through a TRS, we generally are subject to this 100% tax.

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Our TRSs, if any, will be subject to U.S. federal income tax and will be required to pay a 100% penalty tax on certain income or deductions if transactions with such TRSs are not conducted on arm’s length terms.

We may conduct certain activities (such as in the future selling packing supplies and locks and renting trucks or other moving equipment) through one or more TRSs.

A TRS is a corporation other than a REIT in which a REIT directly or indirectly holds stock, and that has made a joint election with such REIT to be treated as a TRS. If a TRS owns more than 35% of the total voting power or value of the outstanding securities of another corporation, such other corporation will also be treated as a TRS. Other than some activities relating to lodging and health care properties, a TRS may generally engage in any business, including the provision of customary or non-customary services to tenants of its parent REIT. A TRS is subject to U.S. federal income tax as a regular C corporation.

No more than 20% of the value of a REIT’s total assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs. This requirement limits the extent to which we can conduct our activities through TRSs. The values of some of our assets, including assets that we hold through TRSs, may not be subject to precise determination, and values are subject to change in the future.  Furthermore, if a REIT lends money to a TRS, the TRS may be unable to deduct all or a portion of the interest paid to the REIT, which could increase the tax liability of the TRS. In addition, the Code imposes a 100% tax on certain transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm’s length basis. We intend to structure transactions with any TRS on terms that we believe are arm’s length to avoid incurring the 100% excise tax described above. There can be no assurances, however, that we will be able to avoid application of the 100% tax.

We may not have cash available to make distributions.

Our taxable income may exceed our cash flow for a year, which could necessitate our borrowing funds and/or subject us to tax, thus reducing the cash available for distribution to our stockholders. We intend to make cash distributions each year sufficient to satisfy REIT distribution requirements and to avoid liability for the REIT excise tax. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to do so. Our taxable income may substantially exceed our net income as determined based on GAAP, as well as our cash flow, because, for example, realized capital losses will be deducted in determining GAAP net income but may not be deductible in computing taxable income or because we acquired assets that generate taxable income in excess of economic income or in advance of the corresponding cash flow from the assets. Under the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), we generally will be required to recognize certain amounts in income no later than the time such amounts are reflected on our financial statements. The application of this rule may require the accrual of income with respect to certain sources earlier than would be the case under the otherwise applicable tax rules, although the precise application of this rule is unclear at this time. This rule generally will be effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 but, for debt instruments issued with original issue discount, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018. Also, in certain circumstances our ability to deduct interest expenses for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be limited by provisions of the TCJA. If the cash flow we generate in a particular year is less than our taxable income, we may be required to use cash reserves, incur short-term, or possibly long-term, debt or liquidate non-cash assets at rates or at times that are unfavorable in order to make the necessary distributions.

Dividends paid by REITs generally do not qualify for the favorable tax rates available for some dividends.

The maximum U.S. federal income tax rate for certain qualified dividends payable to U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates is 20%. Dividends payable by REITs, however, are generally not eligible for these reduced qualified dividend rates. However, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, under the recently enacted TCJA, noncorporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain qualified business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by a REIT shareholder that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. Although the reduced U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to qualified dividends from C corporations does not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends paid by REITs, the more favorable rates applicable to regular corporate dividends, together with the recently reduced corporate tax rate (currently 21%), could cause investors who are individuals, trusts and estates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the shares of REITs, including our common stock. Dividends may also be subject to a 3.8% Medicare tax under certain circumstances.

19


Our REIT qualification could be adversely affected by the REIT qualification of any REIT in which we hold an interest.

In connection with our conversion from a regulated investment company (a “RIC”) to a REIT, we disposed of the majority of our assets and acquired government securities and shares of publicly traded REITs. As a result, the qualification of our as a REIT has depended on the REIT qualification of the publicly traded REITs in which we have invested. Furthermore, we may continue to hold interests in publicly traded REITs, and as a result our REIT qualification may continue to depend on the REIT qualification of any publicly traded REITs in which we continue to hold an interest. We do not generally independently investigate the REIT qualification of such REITs, but rather generally rely on statements made by such REITs in their public filings. In the event that one or more of the publicly traded REITs in which we invested was not properly treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it is possible that we may not have met certain of the REIT asset and income requirements, in which case we could have failed to qualify as a REIT. Similarly, if we hold an interest in a publicly traded REIT in the future that fails to qualify as a REIT, such failure could adversely impact our REIT qualification.

We could fail to qualify as a REIT if we have not distributed any earnings and profits attributable to a taxable year before we elected to be taxed as a REIT.

A corporation does not qualify as a REIT for a given taxable year if, as of the final day of the taxable year, the corporation has any undistributed earnings and profits that accumulated during a period that the corporation was not treated as a REIT. Because we were not treated as a REIT for our entire existence (such period prior to our election to be taxed as a REIT, the “Pre-REIT period”), it is possible that we could have undistributed earnings and profits from the Pre-REIT period, in which case we would be required to pay a deficiency dividend in order to comply with this requirement or could fail to qualify as a REIT. We believe that, since December 31, 2013, we have not had any earnings and profits accumulated from the Pre-REIT period because all such earnings and profits were distributed prior to December 31, 2013. In particular, prior to December 31, 2013, we believe that we qualified as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and as a RIC, we distributed our earnings on an annual basis in order to avoid being subject to U.S. federal income tax on our undistributed earnings. However, if it is determined that we have accumulated earnings and profits from the Pre-REIT period, we could be required to pay a deficiency dividend to stockholders after the relevant determination in order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, or we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

We may not have satisfied requirements related to the ownership of our outstanding stock, which could cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT.

In order to qualify as a REIT, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, through the application of certain attribution rules under the Code, by five or fewer individuals, as defined in the Code to include specified entities, during the last half of any taxable year other than the first taxable year during which we qualified as a REIT (the “5/50 Test”). Prior to October 20, 2017, our charter did not contain customary REIT ownership restrictions and therefore did not ensure that we satisfied the 5/50 Test. Effective as of October 20, 2017, our charter was revised to include, among other things, certain customary ownership limitations that prohibit, among other limitations, any person from beneficially or constructively owning more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding share of our common stock or all classes and series of our capital stock. These provisions are intended to assist us in satisfying the 5/50 Test. With respect to the period between January 1, 2013 and October 20, 2017, we monitored purchases and transfers of shares of our common stock by regularly reviewing, among other things, ownership filings required by the federal securities laws to monitor the beneficial ownership of our shares in an attempt to ensure that we met the 5/50 Test. However, the attribution rules under the Code are broad, and we may not have had the information necessary to ascertain with certainty whether or not we satisfied the 5/50 Test during such period. As a result, no assurance can be provided that we satisfied the 5/50 Test during such period. If it were determined that we failed to satisfy the 5/50 Test, we could fail to qualify as a REIT or, assuming we qualify for a statutory relief provision under the Code, be required to pay a penalty tax.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.

The REIT provisions of the Code may limit our ability to hedge our assets and operations. Under these provisions, any income that we generate from transactions intended to hedge interest rate risk will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests if (i) the instrument (a) hedges interest rate

20


risk on liabilities used to carry or acquire real estate assets or (b) hedges an instrument described in clause (a) for a period following the extinguishment of the liability or the disposition of the asset that was previously hedged by the hedged instrument, and (ii) the relevant instrument is properly identified under applicable Treasury regulations. Income from hedging transactions that do not meet these requirements will generally constitute non-qualifying income for purposes of both the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we may have to limit our use of hedging techniques that might otherwise be advantageous or implement those hedges through a TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our TRS would be subject to tax on gains or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear. In addition, losses in our TRS will generally not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried back or forward against past or future taxable income in the TRS.

Legislative or regulatory tax changes related to REITs could materially and adversely affect our business.

The U.S. federal income tax laws and regulations governing REITs and their stockholders, as well as the administrative interpretations of those laws and regulations, are constantly under review and may be changed at any time, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given as to whether, when, or in what form, the U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to us and our stockholders may be enacted. Changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws and interpretations of U.S. federal tax laws could adversely affect an investment in our common stock.

 

The newly enacted TCJA, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, significantly changes U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to businesses and their owners, including REITs and their stockholders, and may lessen the relative competitive advantage of operating as a REIT rather than as a C corporation. For additional discussion, see “Recent U.S. Federal Income Tax Legislation”.

 

Risks Related to Our Common Shares

 

The future sales of shares of our common stock may depress the price of our common stock and dilute stockholders’ beneficial ownership.

 

We cannot predict whether future issuances of shares of our common stock or the availability of shares of our common stock for resale in the open market will decrease the market price of our common stock. Any sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market or the perception that such sales might occur, may cause the market price of our common stock to decline. In addition, future issuances of our common stock may be dilutive to existing stockholders.

 

Any future offerings of debt, which would be senior to our common stock upon liquidation, and/or preferred equity securities which may be senior to our common stock for purposes of dividend distributions or upon liquidation, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

In the future, we may increase our capital resources by making offerings of debt or preferred equity securities, including trust preferred securities, senior or subordinated notes and preferred stock. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive distributions of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our stockholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting their stock holdings in us.

 

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

 

 

Item 2.

Properties.

 

21


GLOBAL SELF STORAGE STORES

(As of December 31, 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Year Store

 

Number

 

 

Net Leasable

 

 

December 31, 2017

Square Foot

 

 

December 31, 2016

Square Foot

 

Property

 

Address

 

Opened / Acquired

 

of Units

 

 

Square Feet

 

 

Occupancy %

 

 

Occupancy %

 

SSG DOLTON LLC

 

14900 Woodlawn Avenue,

Dolton, IL 60419

 

2007 / 2013

 

 

652

 

 

 

86,590

 

 

 

90.5

%

 

 

94.8

%

SSG MERRILLVILLE LLC

 

6590 Broadway, Merrillville, IN 46410

 

2005 / 2013

 

 

491

 

 

 

66,820

 

 

 

92.6

%

 

 

91.3

%

SSG ROCHESTER LLC

 

2255 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624

 

2010 / 2012

 

 

640

 

 

 

68,017

 

 

 

96.1

%

 

 

92.8

%

SSG SADSBURY LLC

 

21 Aim Boulevard, Sadsburyville, PA 19369

 

2006 / 2012

 

 

694

 

 

 

78,842

 

 

 

89.5

%

 

 

86.9

%

SSG SUMMERVILLE I LLC

 

1713 Old Trolley Road, Summerville, SC 29485

 

1990 / 2013

 

 

557

 

 

 

72,700

 

 

 

88.9

%

 

 

89.9

%

SSG SUMMERVILLE II LLC

 

900 North Gum Street, Summerville, SC 29483

 

1997 / 2013

 

 

248

 

 

 

41,665

 

 

 

89.6

%

 

 

87.6

%

TOTAL/AVERAGE SAME STORES

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,282

 

 

 

414,634

 

 

 

91.2

%

 

 

90.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SSG FISHERS LLC

 

13942 East 96th Street, McCordsville, IN 46055

 

2007 / 2016

 

 

412

 

 

 

81,731

 

 

 

95.2

%

 

 

85.9

%

SSG LIMA LLC

 

1910 West Robb Avenue, Lima, OH 60419

 

1996 / 2016

 

 

733

 

 

 

97,635

 

 

 

97.6

%

 

 

94.9

%

SSG CLINTON LLC

 

6 Heritage Park Road, Clinton, CT 06413

 

1996 / 2016

 

 

182

 

 

 

30,338

 

 

 

87.6

%

 

 

80.8

%

SSG MILLBROOK LLC

 

3814 Route 44, Millbrook, NY 12545

 

2008 / 2016

 

 

140

 

 

 

12,480

 

 

 

95.3

%

 

 

88.9

%

SSG BOLINGBROOK LLC

 

296 North Weber Road, Bolingbrook, IL 60440

 

1997 / 2013

 

 

781

 

 

 

111,200

 

 

 

88.5

%

 

 

62.2

%

TOTAL/AVERAGE NON-SAME STORES

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,248

 

 

 

333,384

 

 

 

93.0

%

 

 

80.4

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL/AVERAGE ALL STORES

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,530

 

 

 

748,018

 

 

 

92.0

%

 

 

86.2

%

 

 

Each property is directly owned by the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary listed in the table. Same-store occupancy does not include properties that have recently undergone significant expansion or redevelopment, such as our property in Bolingbrook, IL.

 

The Merrillville, IN expansion was completed January 2018 and added 13,300 leasable square feet of traditional drive-up storage units. In 2018 the Company expects to break ground on the Millbrook, NY expansion, which, when completed, will add approximately 16,500 of gross square feet of all-climate-controlled units. The planning for the Millbrook, NY expansion is under development and the Company is actively evaluating proposals for its construction.

 

The Bolingbrook, IL store expansion project was completed during mid-November 2016 which added 304 climate-controlled and traditional storage units totaling 43,750 leasable square feet to the store bringing the total to 781 storage units and 111,200 leasable square feet. Upon completion of the Bolingbrook store expansion project, its area occupancy dropped from mid-90% to approximately 60%.

 

Certain stores’ leasable square feet in the chart above includes outside auto/RV/boat storage space: approximately 13,000 square feet at SSG Sadsbury LLC; 13,500 square feet at SSG Bolingbrook LLC; 9,000 square feet at SSG Dolton LLC; 1,000 square feet at SSG Merrillville LLC; 7,200 square feet at SSG Summerville II LLC;

22


and 8,750 square feet at SSG Clinton LLC. For SSG Lima LLC, included is approximately 12,683 square feet of non-storage commercial and student housing space. Approximately 34% of our total available units are climate-controlled, 58% are traditional, and 8% are parking.

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings.

From time to time, the Company or its subsidiaries may be named in legal actions and proceedings. These actions may seek substantial or indeterminate compensatory as well as punitive damages or injunctive relief. We are also subject to governmental or regulatory examinations or investigations. Examinations or investigations can result in adverse judgments, settlements, fines, injunctions, restitutions or other relief. For any such matters, the Company will seek to include in its financial statements the necessary provisions for losses that it believes are probable and estimable. Furthermore, the Company will seek to evaluate whether there exist losses which may be reasonably possible and, if material, make the necessary disclosures. The Company currently does not have any material pending legal proceedings to which the Company or any of its subsidiaries is a party or of which any of their property is the subject.

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

23


PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

The Company’s shares of common stock are listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SELF. The following table presents the high and low sales prices for shares of the Company’s common stock for each full quarterly period within the two most recent fiscal years.

 

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

 

Range

 

 

Dividends

 

 

Range

 

 

Dividends

 

Quarter

 

High

 

 

Low

 

 

Declared

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

 

Declared

 

1st

 

$

5.19

 

 

$

4.35

 

 

$

0.065

 

 

$

4.93

 

 

$

3.73

 

 

$

0.065

 

2nd

 

$

5.19

 

 

$

4.64

 

 

$

0.065

 

 

$

5.64

 

 

$

4.59

 

 

$

0.065

 

3rd

 

$

5.15

 

 

$

4.63

 

 

$

0.065

 

 

$

5.85

 

 

$

5.26

 

 

$

0.065

 

4th

 

$

4.94

 

 

$

4.51

 

 

$

0.065

 

 

$

5.26

 

 

$

4.54

 

 

$

0.065

 

 

As of March 16, 2018, there were approximately 2,695 record and beneficial holders of the Company’s common stock.

Dividends

Holders of shares of the Company’s common stock are entitled to receive distributions when declared by our Board of Directors out of any assets legally available for that purpose. As a REIT, in order to maintain our REIT qualification for U.S. federal income tax purposes we are required to annually distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our “REIT taxable income,” which is generally equivalent to our net taxable ordinary income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid. The following table presents the amount of each quarterly dividend paid on the Company’s common stock for the two most recent fiscal years.

 

 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data.

Not applicable.

24


Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

CAUTIONARY LANGUAGE

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our selected consolidated historical financial data together with the consolidated pro forma financial data and historical financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this annual report. We make statements in this section that may be forward looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. For a complete discussion of forward looking statements, see the section in this annual report entitled “Statement on Forward Looking Information.”

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on our condensed consolidated financial statements contained elsewhere in this annual report, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Our notes to the condensed consolidated financial statements contained elsewhere in this annual report describe the significant accounting policies essential to our condensed consolidated financial statements. Preparation of our financial statements requires estimates, judgments and assumptions. We believe that the estimates, judgments and assumptions that we have used are appropriate and correct based on information available at the time they were made. These estimates, judgments and assumptions can affect our reported assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements, as well as the reported revenues and expenses during the period presented. If there are material differences between these estimates, judgments and assumptions and actual facts, our financial statements may be affected.

In many cases, the accounting treatment of a particular transaction is specifically dictated by GAAP and does not require our judgment in its application. There are areas in which our judgment in selecting among available alternatives would not produce a materially different result, but there are some areas in which our judgment in selecting among available alternatives would produce a materially different result. See the notes to the condensed consolidated financial statements that contain additional information regarding our accounting policies and other disclosures.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis Overview

The Company is a self-administered and self-managed REIT that owns, operates, manages, acquires, develops and redevelops self storage properties (“stores” or “properties”) in the United States. Our stores are designed to offer affordable, easily accessible and secure storage space for residential and commercial customers. The Company currently owns and operates, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, eleven stores located in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. On January 19, 2016, the Company changed its name to Global Self Storage, Inc. from Self Storage Group, Inc., changed its SEC registration from an investment company to an operating company reporting under the Exchange Act, and listed its common stock on NASDAQ under the symbol “SELF”.

Our store operations generated most of our net income for all periods presented herein. Accordingly, a significant portion of management’s time is devoted to seeking to maximize cash flows from our existing stores, as well as seeking investments in additional stores. The Company expects to continue to earn a majority of its gross income from its store operations as its current store operations continue to develop and as it makes additional store acquisitions. Over time, the Company expects to divest its remaining portfolio of investment securities and use the proceeds to acquire and operate additional stores. The Company expects its income from investment securities to continue to decrease as it continues to divest its holdings of investment securities.

Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Our financing strategy is to minimize the cost of our capital in order to maximize the returns generated for our stockholders. For future acquisitions, the Company may use various financing and capital raising alternatives including, but not limited to, debt and/or equity offerings, credit facilities, mortgage financing, and joint ventures with third parties.

25


On June 24, 2016, certain wholly owned subsidiaries (“Secured Subsidiaries”) of the Company entered into a loan agreement and certain other related agreements (collectively, the “Loan Agreement”) between the Secured Subsidiaries and Insurance Strategy Funding IV, LLC (the “Lender”). Under the Loan Agreement, the Secured Subsidiaries are borrowing from Lender in the principal amount of $20 million pursuant to a promissory note (the “Promissory Note”). The Promissory Note bears an interest rate equal to 4.192% per annum and is due to mature on July 1, 2036. Pursuant to a security agreement (the “Security Agreement”), the obligations under the Loan Agreement are secured by certain real estate assets owned by the Secured Subsidiaries. J.P. Morgan Investment Management, Inc. acted as Special Purpose Vehicle Agent of the Lender. The Company entered into a non-recourse guaranty on June 24, 2016 (the “Guaranty,” and together with the Loan Agreement, the Promissory Note and the Security Agreement, the “Loan Documents”) to guarantee the payment to Lender of certain obligations of the Secured Subsidiaries under the Loan Agreement. The Loan Documents require the Secured Subsidiaries and the Company to comply with certain covenants, including, among others, a minimum net worth test and other customary covenants. The Lender may accelerate amounts outstanding under the Loan Documents upon the occurrence of an Event of Default (as defined in the Loan Agreement) including, but not limited to, the failure to pay amounts due or commencement of bankruptcy proceedings. The Company and the Secured Subsidiaries paid customary fees and expenses in connection with their entry into the Loan Documents. There is no material relationship between the Company, its Secured Subsidiaries, or its affiliates and the Lender, other than in respect of the Loan Documents. The foregoing description is qualified in its entirety by the full terms and conditions of the Loan Documents, filed as Exhibits 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4 to the Current Report on Form 8-K filed on June 30, 2016. We used the proceeds of such debt financing primarily in connection with store acquisitions and development.

As of December 31, 2017, we had capital resources totaling approximately $3.7 million comprised of $2.1 million of cash and cash equivalents and $1.6 million of marketable securities. Capital resources derived from retained cash flow have been and are currently expected to continue to be negligible. Retained operating cash flow represents our expected cash flow provided by operating activities, less stockholder distributions and capital expenditures to maintain stores.

We have been actively reviewing a number of store and store portfolio acquisition candidates and have been working to further develop and expand our current stores. We did not make any acquisitions in the year ended December 31, 2017.

During the year ended December 31, 2017, we initiated construction of the expansion at our Merrillville, IN location. Construction was completed January 2018 and added 13,300 leasable square feet of traditional drive-up storage units. In 2018, the Company expects to break ground on the Millbrook, NY expansion, which, when completed, will add approximately 16,500 of gross square feet of all-climate-controlled units. The planning for the Millbrook, NY expansion is under development and we are actively evaluating proposals for its construction.

 

Results of Operations for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared with the Period January 19, 2016 through December 31, 2016

The Company’s results of operations for the period subsequent to its change in status from an investment company to an operating company on January 19, 2016 are presented on a consolidated basis to include the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, rather than using the investment company fair valuation approach. For the period January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016, the Company was a registered investment company and applied the accounting guidance in ASC 946 and such period is not reflected in the following discussion. The change in status and related accounting policies affect the direct comparability of the results of operations for the twelve months of 2017 with the twelve months of 2016. As such, for the twelve months of 2016, the presentation of the results of operations is limited to the period during which the Company has applied operating company accounting policies (January 19, 2016 through December 31, 2017) and relates to the audited consolidated financial statements presented for such period in this report.

Revenues

Total revenues increased from $4,976,364 during the period from January 19, 2016 to December 31, 2016 to $7,472,793 during 2017, an increase of $2,496,429, or 50.2%. Rental income increased from $4,816,835 during

26


2016 to $7,238,819 during 2017, an increase of $2,421,984, or 50.3%.  The  increase was primarily attributable to the additional income from the stores acquired in 2016. The remaining increase in rental revenue was due primarily to an increase in rental and occupancy rates.

Other store related income consists of customer insurance fees, sales of storage supplies, and other ancillary revenues. Other store related income increased from $159,529 in 2016 to $233,974 in 2017, an increase of $74,445, or 46.7%. This increase was primarily attributable to increased insurance fees on the stores acquired in 2016 and a smaller increase in same-store property related income mainly attributable to increased insurance participation and higher average occupancy.

Operating Expenses

Total expenses increased from $4,910,662 during the period from January 19, 2016 to December 31, 2016 to $6,795,322 during 2017, an increase of $1,884,660, or 38.4%. Store operating expenses increased from $2,155,492 in 2016 to $3,140,650 in 2017, an increase of $985,158, or 45.7%, which was primarily attributable to the increased expenses associated with newly acquired stores.

Depreciation and amortization increased from $813,796 in 2016 to $1,495,606 in 2017, an increase of $681,810, or 83.8%. This increase was primarily attributable to depreciation and amortization expense related to the 2016 acquisitions.

General and administrative expenses increased from $1,406,441 during the period from January 19, 2016 to December 31, 2016 to $1,927,585 during 2017, an increase of $521,144, or 24.7%. The change is primarily attributable to an increase in legal, accounting, compliance, and investor relations and capital market consulting expenses. The change is also attributable to one-off regulatory filings, the creation of the Company’s 2017 Equity Incentive Plan, and comprehensive changes to our charter and bylaws to complete the transformation from an investment company to an operating company. Going forward, although we currently expect some general and administrative expense reductions associated with our discontinued registration as an investment company, we are incurring and expect to continue to incur a number of new expenses related to, among other things, the Company’s current reporting and regulatory requirements. For the period January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016, the Company was a registered investment company and applied the accounting guidance in ASC 946.

Business development and store acquisition related costs decreased from $449,738 during 2016 to 14,295 during 2017. Business development and store acquisition-related costs are non-recurring and fluctuate based on periodic investment activity.

Operating Income

Operating income increased from $65,702 during the period from January 19, 2016 to December 31, 2016 to $677,471 during 2017, an increase of $611,769 or 931.1%.

Other income (expense)

Interest expense on loans increased from $456,719 during the year ended December 31, 2016 to $880,834 during the year ended December 31, 2017, which included amortization of the loan procurement expenses of $42,434 and $21,217, respectively. The increase is primarily attributable to the Loan Agreement being in place the entire duration of 2017 as compared to the partial duration in 2016. For the year ended December 31, 2017, there were no realized gains from the sale of investment securities compared to $602,428 during 2016. Dividend and interest income was $57,073 during 2017 compared to $172,724 during 2016. The decrease is primarily due to a decrease in dividend income attributable to fewer investment securities held by the Company in 2017.

Net income (loss)

For the year ended December 31, 2017, the net loss was $146,290 or $0.02 per share.

27


Non-GAAP Measures

Funds from Operations (“FFO”) and FFO per share are non-GAAP measures defined by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”) and are considered helpful measures of REIT performance by REITs and many REIT analysts. NAREIT defines FFO as a REIT’s net income, excluding gains or losses from sales of property, and adding back real estate depreciation and amortization. FFO and FFO per share are not a substitute for net income or earnings per share. FFO is not a substitute for GAAP net cash flow in evaluating our liquidity or ability to pay dividends, because it excludes financing activities presented on our statements of cash flows. In addition, other REITs may compute these measures differently, so comparisons among REITs may not be helpful. However, the Company believes that to further understand the performance of its stores, FFO should be considered along with the net income and cash flows reported in accordance with GAAP and as presented in the Company’s financial statements.

Adjusted FFO (“AFFO”) represents FFO excluding the effects of business development and acquisition related costs and non-recurring items, which we believe are not indicative of the Company’s operating results. We present AFFO because we believe it is a helpful measure in understanding our results of operations insofar as we believe that the items noted above that are included in FFO, but excluded from AFFO, are not indicative of our ongoing operating results. We also believe that the analyst community considers our AFFO (or similar measures using different terminology) when evaluating us. Because other REITs or real estate companies may not compute AFFO in the same manner as we do, and may use different terminology, our computation of AFFO may not be comparable to AFFO reported by other REITs or real estate companies.

We believe net operating income or “NOI” is a meaningful measure of operating performance because we utilize NOI in making decisions with respect to, among other things, capital allocations, determining current store values, evaluating store performance, and in comparing period-to-period and market-to-market store operating results. In addition, we believe the investment community utilizes NOI in determining operating performance and real estate values, and does not consider depreciation expense because it is based upon historical cost. NOI is defined as net store earnings before general and administrative expenses, interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

NOI is not a substitute for net income, net operating cash flow, or other related GAAP financial measures, in evaluating our operating results.

28


Same-Store Self Storage Operations

We consider our same-store portfolio to consist of only those stores owned and operated on a stabilized basis at the beginning and at the end of the applicable periods presented. We consider a store to be stabilized once it has achieved an occupancy rate that we believe, based on our assessment of market-specific data, is representative of similar self storage assets in the applicable market for a full year measured as of the most recent January 1 and has not been significantly damaged by natural disaster or undergone significant renovation or expansion. We believe that same-store results are useful to investors in evaluating our performance because they provide information relating to changes in store-level operating performance without taking into account the effects of acquisitions, dispositions or new ground-up developments. At December 31, 2017, we owned six same-store properties and five non-same-store properties. The Company believes that by providing same-store results from a stabilized pool of stores, with accompanying operating metrics including, but not limited to, variances in occupancy, rental revenue, operating expenses, NOI, etc., stockholders and potential investors are able to evaluate operating performance without the effects of non-stabilized occupancy levels, rent levels, expense levels, acquisitions or completed developments. Same-store results should not be used as a basis for future same-store performance or for the performance of the Company’s stores as a whole.

For comparability purposes, the same store information presented for the period from January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016 under investment company accounting and for the period from January 19, 2016 through December 31, 2016 under operating company accounting are presented combined for the full twelve months of 2016 in the discussion that follows. Management believes this presentation is more meaningful to investors as there was no significant change in same-store revenue streams and other financial metrics or the same-store non-financial statistical information as a result of our change in status from an investment company to an operating company.

Same-store occupancy for the three months and year ended December 31, 2017 increased by 0.4% to 91.2% from 90.8% for the same period in 2016. This does not include the impact from the Bolingbrook expansion project completed mid-November 2016. Including the Bolingbrook property in the definition of same-store would result in ending same-store occupancy of 90.6%, an increase of 5.7% compared to the same period in 2016.

We grew our top-line results by increasing same-store revenues by 8.1% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 8.2% for the year ended December 31, 2017 versus the year ended December 31, 2016. Same-store cost of operations increased by 38.7% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 9.3% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. Same-store NOI decreased by 12.5% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and increased by 7.5% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. As described in the section titled “Property Tax Expenses at Dolton, IL,” the increase in same-store cost of operations and decrease in same-store NOI for the three months ended December 31, 2017, was primarily attributable to the loss of our Class 8 tax incentive and subsequent property tax increase at SSG Dolton LLC, which was recorded during the fourth quarter of 2017.

We believe that our results were driven by, among other things, our internet and digital marketing initiatives which helped our overall average occupancy maintain in the mid-to-high 80% range as of December 31, 2017. Also, contributing to our results were our customer service efforts which we believe were essential in building local brand loyalty resulting in powerful referral and word-of-mouth market demand for our storage units and services. Another significant contributing factor to our results was our revenue rate management program which helped increase our total annualized revenue per leased square foot by 9.0% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 9.2% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016.

29


These results are summarized as follows:

SAME - STORE PROPERTIES

 

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2017

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016

 

 

Variance

 

 

% Change

 

Revenues

 

$

4,490,118

 

 

$

4,148,369

 

 

$

341,749

 

 

 

8.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of operations

 

$

1,835,726

 

 

$

1,679,797

 

 

$

155,929

 

 

 

9.3

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net operating income

 

$

2,654,392

 

 

$

2,468,572

 

 

$

185,820

 

 

 

7.5

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

$

523,207

 

 

$

514,406

 

 

$

8,801

 

 

 

1.7

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leasable square footage at period end*

 

 

414,634

 

 

 

419,774

 

 

 

(5,140

)

 

 

-1.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leased square footage at period end*

 

 

378,134

 

 

 

381,346

 

 

 

(3,212

)

 

 

-0.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall square foot occupancy at period end

 

 

91.2

%

 

 

90.8

%

 

 

0.4

%

 

 

0.4

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total annualized revenue per leased square foot

 

$

11.87

 

 

$

10.88

 

 

$

1.00

 

 

 

9.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of leased storage units*

 

 

3,282

 

 

 

3,317

 

 

 

(35

)

 

 

-1.1

%

SAME - STORE PROPERTIES

 

 

 

 

For the Three Months Ended December 31, 2017

 

 

For the Three Months Ended December 31, 2016

 

 

Variance

 

 

% Change

 

Revenues

 

$

1,144,413

 

 

$

1,058,843

 

 

$

85,570

 

 

 

8.1

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of operations

 

$

590,538

 

 

$

425,800

 

 

$

164,738

 

 

 

38.7

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net operating income

 

$

553,875

 

 

$

633,043

 

 

$

(79,168

)

 

 

-12.5

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

$

129,715

 

 

$

128,843

 

 

$

872

 

 

 

0.7

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leasable square footage at period end*

 

 

414,634

 

 

 

419,774

 

 

 

(5,140

)

 

 

-1.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leased square footage at period end*

 

 

378,134

 

 

 

381,346

 

 

 

(3,212

)

 

 

-0.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall square foot occupancy at period end

 

 

91.2

%

 

 

90.8

%

 

 

0.4

%

 

 

0.4

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total annualized revenue per leased square foot

 

$

12.11

 

 

$

11.11

 

 

$

1.00

 

 

 

9.0

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of leased storage units*

 

 

3,282

 

 

 

3,317

 

 

 

(35

)

 

 

-1.1

%

 

30


* From time to time, as guided by market conditions, net leasable square footage, net leased square footage and total available storage units at our properties may increase or decrease as a result of consolidation, division or reconfiguration of storage units. Similarly, leasable square footage may increase or decrease due to expansion or redevelopment of our properties.

 

The following table presents a reconciliation of same-store net operating income to net income as presented on our consolidated statements of operations for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 19, 2016

 

 

 

For the Three Months Ended December 31,

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended

 

 

through

 

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

December 31, 2017

 

 

December 31, 2016

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

(20,766

)

 

$

564,692

 

 

$

(146,290

)

 

$

384,135

 

Adjustments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General and administrative

 

 

438,019

 

 

 

351,427

 

 

 

1,927,585

 

 

 

1,406,441

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

358,294

 

 

 

357,029

 

 

 

1,699,555

 

 

 

952,507

 

Business development and property acquisition costs

 

 

-

 

 

 

52,168

 

 

 

14,295

 

 

 

449,738

 

Dividend and interest income

 

 

(15,108

)

 

 

(39,165

)

 

 

(57,073

)

 

 

(172,724

)

Realized gain on investment securities

 

 

 

 

(602,428

)

 

 

 

 

(602,428

)

Interest expense

 

 

220,208

 

 

 

220,208

 

 

 

880,834

 

 

 

456,719

 

Non same-store revenues

 

 

(799,165

)

 

 

(497,371

)

 

 

(2,981,314

)

 

 

(1,097,003

)

Non same-store cost of operations

 

 

370,425

 

 

 

226,269

 

 

 

1,304,923

 

 

 

475,694

 

Other real estate expenses

 

 

1,968

 

 

 

214

 

 

 

11,877

 

 

 

2,412

 

Combined adjustment for the period January 1, 2016 to January 18. 2016 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

213,081

 

Total same-store net operating income

 

$

553,875

 

 

$

633,043

 

 

$

2,654,392

 

 

$

2,468,572

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Three Months Ended December 31,

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Same-store revenues

 

$

1,144,413

 

 

$

1,058,843

 

 

$

4,490,118

 

 

$

4,148,369

 

Same-store cost of operations

 

 

590,538

 

 

 

425,800

 

 

 

1,835,726

 

 

 

1,679,797

 

Total same-store net operating income

 

$

553,875

 

 

$

633,043

 

 

$

2,654,392

 

 

$

2,468,572

 

 

(1) For comparability purposes, the same-store information presented for the period from January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016 under investment company accounting and for the period from January 19, 2016 through December 31, 2016 under operating company accounting are presented combined for the twelve months of 2016. Management believes this presentation is more meaningful to investors as there was no significant change in same-store revenue streams and other financial metrics or the same-store non-financial statistical information as a result of our change in status from an investment company to an operating company. The following table presents the combined adjustment for the period January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016.

 

Net income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

45,399

 

Adjustments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General and administrative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

111,247

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

54,084

 

Dividend and interest income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2,958

)

Other property expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,309

 

Combined adjustment for the period January 1, 2016 to January 18. 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

213,081

 

 

31


Analysis of Same-Store Revenue

For the three months ended December 31, 2017, the 8.1% revenue increase was due primarily to a 9.0% increase in total annualized revenue per leased square foot. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, the 8.2% revenue increase was due primarily to a 9.2% increase in total annualized revenue per leased square foot. The increase in total annualized revenue per leased square foot was due primarily to annual existing tenant rent increases, an increase in available traditional and climate-controlled leasable square feet compared to available leasable parking square feet, and, to a lesser extent, increased move-in rental rates and decreased move-in rent “specials” discounting. Same store average overall square foot occupancy for all of the Company’s stores combined increased to 91.2% in the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 from 90.8% in the twelve months ended December 31, 2016.

We believe that high occupancies help maximize our rental income. We seek to maintain an average square foot occupancy level at about 90% by regularly adjusting the rental rates and promotions offered to attract new tenants as well as adjusting our online marketing efforts in order to generate sufficient move-in volume to replace tenants that vacate. Demand fluctuates due to various local and regional factors, including the overall economy. Demand is generally higher in the summer months than in the winter months and, as a result, rental rates charged to new tenants are typically higher in the summer months than in the winter months.

We currently expect rental income growth, if any, to come from a combination of the following: (i) continued existing tenant rent increases, (ii) higher rental rates charged to new tenants, (iii) lower promotional discounts, and (iv) higher occupancies. Our future rental income growth will also be dependent upon many factors for each market that we operate in including, among other things, demand for self storage space, the level of competitor supply of self storage space, and the average length of stay of our tenants. Increasing existing tenant rental rates, generally on an annual basis, is a key component of our revenue growth. We typically determine the level of rental increases based upon our expectations regarding the impact of existing tenant rate increases on incremental move-outs. We currently expect existing tenant rent increases in 2018 to be slightly less than the prior year.

We believe that the current trends in move-in, move-out, in place contractual rents, and occupancy levels are consistent with our current expectation of continued revenue growth. However, such trends, when viewed in the short-term, are volatile and not necessarily predictive of our revenues going forward because they may be subject to many short-term factors. Such factors include, among others, initial move-in rates, seasonal factors, the unit size and geographical mix of the specific tenants moving in or moving out, the length of stay of the tenants moving in or moving out, changes in our pricing strategies, and the degree and timing of rate increases previously passed to existing tenants.

Importantly, we continue to refine our ongoing revenue management program which includes regular internet data scraping of local competitors’ prices. We do this in order to maintain our competitive market price advantage for our various sized storage units at our stores. This program helps us maximize each store’s occupancies and our self storage revenue and NOI. We believe that, through our various marketing initiatives, we can continue to attract high quality, long term tenants who we expect will be storing with us for years. Currently, our average tenant duration of stay is approximately 2.5 years, up from approximately 2.4 years for the same period in 2016. One of the results of our initiative to build a higher quality tenant base is a greater percentage of credit card paying customers. We believe that credit card payers rent for longer periods and accept greater rental rate increases.

Analysis of Same-Store Cost of Operations

Same-store cost of operations increased 38.7% or $164,738 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and increased 9.3% or $155,929 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. This increase in same-store cost of operations was due to increased store level employment costs, store property tax expense, repair and maintenance, and marketing expense. As described in the section titled “Property Tax Expenses at Dolton, IL,” the increase in same-store cost of operations for the three months ended December 31, 2017, was primarily attributable to the loss of our Class 8 tax incentive and subsequent property tax increase at SSG Dolton LLC, which was recorded during the fourth quarter of 2017.

32


On-site store manager, regional manager and district payroll expense increased 29.4% or $37,186 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and increased 20.5% or $97,262 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. This increase was due primarily to an increase in the number of store and regional managers and a vice president - operations level employee, wage increases, and higher employee health plan expenses. We currently expect inflationary increases in compensation rates for existing employees and other increases in compensation costs as we potentially add new stores as well as District and Regional Managers.

Store property tax expense increased 115.5% or $138,955 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and increased 26.5% or $128,151 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016, due primarily to higher assessed store property values and tax rates and the loss of our Class 8 tax incentive at SSG Dolton LLC. We currently expect same-store property tax expenses to increase by at least and approximately 12% to 15% during 2018, primarily due to an expected phaseout of the Class 8 tax incentive granted to SSG Dolton LLC and higher assessed values due to the completed expansion at our Merrillville, IN property.

Repairs and maintenance expense decreased 42.6% or $19,594 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and decreased 31.7% or $39,265 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016 due primarily to performing certain mandatory repairs as part of our mortgage loan covenants and requirements in accordance with the Loan Documents during the year ended 2016. We anticipate continued focus on our LED light replacement program throughout 2018. At our stores fully converted to LED lighting, we have realized utilities expense savings year-over-year of approximately 10% to 40%, depending on the store, due to lower kilowatt per hour usage.

Our utility expenses are currently comprised of electricity, oil, and gas costs, which vary by store and are dependent upon energy prices and usage levels. Changes in usage levels are driven primarily by weather and temperature. Also, affecting our utilities expenses over time is our aforementioned ongoing LED light replacement program at all of our stores which has already resulted in lower electricity usage. Utility expense increased 3.2% or $773 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and decreased 0.3% or $352 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016 primarily due to the benefit of lower electricity usage due to our LED light replacement program. It is difficult to estimate future utility costs because weather, temperature, and energy prices are volatile and unpredictable. However, based upon current trends and expectations regarding commercial electricity rates, we currently expect inflationary increases in rates combined with lower usage resulting in net lower utility costs in 2018.

Landscaping expenses, which include snow removal costs, decreased 20.7% or $3,705 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and decreased 23.3% or $16,740 in the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Landscaping expense levels are dependent upon many factors such as weather conditions, which can impact landscaping needs including, among other things, snow removal, inflation in material and labor costs, and random events. We currently expect inflationary increases in landscaping expense in 2018, excluding snow removal expense, which is primarily weather dependent and unpredictable.

Marketing expense is comprised principally of internet advertising and the operating costs of our 24/7 kiosk and telephone call and reservation center. Marketing expense varies based upon demand, occupancy levels, and other factors. Internet advertising, in particular, can increase or decrease significantly in the short term in response to these factors. Marketing expense decreased 14.6% or $5,415 for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and decreased 28.0% or $52,521 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016 primarily due to the one-time costs associated with the production and addition of size estimator and locations videos to our stores’ website, www.GlobalSelfStorage.us during the year ended 2016. Based upon current trends in move-ins, move-outs, and occupancies, we currently expect marketing expense to increase in 2018.

Other direct store costs include general and administrative expenses incurred at the stores, such as store insurance, business license costs, bank charges related to processing the stores’ cash receipts, credit card fees, and the cost of operating each store’s rental office including supplies and telephone data communication lines. These costs increased 18.2% or $5,749 in the three months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016, and increased 9.7% or $12,930 in the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same

33


period in 2016. Lien administration expenses increased 41.9% or $1,307 in the three months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016, and increased 70.3% or $8,396 in the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. Increased tenants’ stored items auctions contributed to the increased expenses, which were partially offset by increases in our credit card or merchant fees. Credit card fees increased due to a higher proportion of rental payments being received through credit cards, which is one of the results of our initiatives in building a higher quality overall tenant base. We currently expect moderate increases in other direct store costs in 2018.

Property Tax Expenses at Dolton, IL

Late in the third quarter of 2017, our Dolton, IL property was reassessed by the municipality and separately, our Class 8 tax incentive renewal hearing was held.  As a result of those two events, our Dolton, IL property was reassessed at approximately 52% higher and the Class 8 tax incentive was not renewed.  These events were applied retroactively to take effect on January 1, 2017.  The combined impact was an increase in property tax expenses from $105,000 during 2016 to $210,000 during 2017.  Due to the timing and retroactive effect of these events, we recorded the entire $105,000 increase, which is an atypical increase of property tax expense, during the fourth quarter of calendar year 2017. The Class 8 tax incentive phases out over the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, and during such 2018 and 2019 periods we currently expect the property tax expenses at our Dolton, IL property to increase by approximately 20% per year. Both the property tax reassessment and our Class 8 tax incentive renewal status is currently under appeal. However, there is no guarantee that either the assessment will be reduced or our Class 8 tax incentive status will be reinstated.

Combined Same-Store and Non Same-Store Self Storage Operations

At December 31, 2017, we owned six same-store properties and five non same-store properties. The non same-store properties are SSG Bolingbrook LLC, SSG Fishers LLC, SSG Lima LLC, SSG Millbrook LLC, and SSG Clinton LLC.

For comparability purposes, the Combined store information presented for the period from January 1, 2016 to January 18, 2016 under investment company accounting and for the period from January 19, 2016 through December 31, 2016 under operating company accounting are presented combined for the full twlve months of 2016 in the discussion that follows. Management believes this presentation is more meaningful to investors as there was no significant change in Combined store revenue streams and other financial metrics or the Combined store non-financial statistical information as a result of our change in status from an investment company to an operating company.

Combined same-store and non same-store average overall square foot occupancy for the three months and year ended December 31, 2017 increased by 6.8% to 92.1% from 86.2% for the same period in 2016. Combined same-store and non same-store occupancy includes all of our properties, including those that have recently undergone significant expansion or redevelopment, such as our property in Bolingbrook, IL.

We grew our top-line results by increasing combined same-store and non same-store (“Combined store”) revenues by 24.9% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 42.4% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. Combined store cost of operations increased by 47.4% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 45.7% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. Combined store NOI increased by 8.7% for the three months ended December 31, 2017 versus the three months ended December 31, 2016, and by 40.2% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2016.

We believe that our results were driven by, among other things, our internet and digital marketing initiatives which helped our overall average occupancy maintain in the mid-to-high 80% range as of December 31, 2017. Also, contributing to our strong results were our customer service efforts which we believe were essential in building local brand loyalty resulting in referral and word-of-mouth market demand for our storage units and services.

34


These results are summarized as follows:

COMBINED SAME - STORE AND NON SAME - STORE PROPERTIES

  

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2017

 

 

For the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016

 

 

Variance

 

 

% Change

 

Revenues

 

$

7,471,433

 

 

$

5,245,373

 

 

$

2,226,060

 

 

 

42.4

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of operations

 

$

3,140,650

 

 

$

2,155,492

 

 

$

985,158

 

 

 

45.7

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net operating income

 

$

4,330,783

 

 

$

3,089,881

 

 

$

1,240,902

 

 

 

40.2

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

$

1,495,606

 

 

$

813,796

 

 

$

681,810

 

 

 

83.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leasable square footage at period end*

 

 

748,017

 

 

 

754,095

 

 

 

(6,078

)

 

 

-0.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net leased square footage at period end*

 

 

688,606

 

 

 

649,897

 

 

 

38,709

 

 

 

6.0

%