EPR Properties (EPR) will suspends its monthly dividend in 2020 because of COVID-19. Earlier this year the REIT raised its monthly dividend by 2.0 percent to $0.3825 per share, marking 10 consecutive years of increases.
In a press release dated May 6, 2020 the company reports first quarter 2020 results and also announces the dividend suspension. EPR Properties states that it is temporarily suspending its monthly cash dividend to common shareholders subsequent to the common share dividend previously declared and payable on May 15, 2020.
“As we continue to navigate our way through these uncertain times, the health and safety of our employees and customers remain our top priority,” stated Company President and CEO Greg Silvers in the company's press release announcing the Q1 results and explaining the dividend suspension. “Given the shelter-in-place and social distancing directives, the majority of our tenants have been particularly impacted given the Company’s focus on experiential real estate. We have established an internal task force focused on COVID-19 to work with our tenants and borrowers in the near-term to help ensure long-term stability, and assist them in establishing re-opening plans. Today we are announcing further measures to ensure our liquidity, including the temporary suspension of our monthly cash dividend to common shareholders and a planned suspension of our share repurchase program. We do not take these steps lightly; however, given the uncertainties that exist, we believed it unwise to burden our future with a higher leveraged balance sheet.”
EPR Properties is a specialty real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests in entertainment, education and recreation properties. EPR has investments in megaplex theatres, entertainment retail centers, family entertainment centers, public charter schools, early education centers, K-12 private schools, ski areas, waterparks, golf entertainment complexes and other recreational real estate. EPR Properties had paid a dividend every year since 1997 before the 2020 dividend suspension.