Ben Butcher, chairman, president and CEO of STAG Industrial Inc. (NYSE: STAG), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
STAG Industrial focuses on the acquisition, ownership and management of single-tenant industrial properties throughout the United States. The Boston-based REIT has 166 properties and targets class-B assets, primarily in secondary markets.
Butcher stated that fundamentals in the industrial sector are good and are benefitting from the improved energy market in the United States, which is bringing the cost of manufacturing down. He said one of the dominant trends in the sector has been recovery from the Great Recession.
“We have seen persistent recovery for the last couple of years,” he said. “We’ve seen on a same store portfolio very good leasing activity and just good economic activity.”
STAG Industrial has recently made acquisitions, including a November 2012 $16.2 million purchase of a warehouse and distribution facility containing a total of 357,673 square feet located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Butcher said the company has grown its assets by 94 percent since its IPO in April 2011.
“We have done quite a lot of acquisitions,” he said. “We see persistent market inefficiencies in the kind of assets we buy so we've always seen good opportunities in the assets we focus on,” said Butcher, adding that he expects that trend of continuous acquisition opportunities to hold up in the New Year.
In terms of gauging the health and direction of the industrial sector, Butcher said “if it’s not a perfect storm, the wind is at our back.”
He explained that as long as the economy continues to improve and debt continues to be available at the kind of rates it is available at today, both STAG Industrial and the sector as a whole will continue to produce good returns.