03/02/2012 | By Carisa Chappell
American Realty Capital Trust Inc. (NYSE: ARCT) made history Mar. 1 after closing its first day of trading as the largest equity REIT listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the fourth-largest company listing in the exchange's history.
American Realty Capital Trust, which is based in New York and invests in single-tenant, free-standing retail, distribution and office properties, experienced heavy trading volume throughout the day.
"We are trading like a company that's been around for 20 years," said Nicholas Schorsch, American Realty Capital Trust's chairman, in an interview with REIT.com.
The company's stock opened at $10 and had a closing price of $10.49, with 4.9 million shares sold and 180 million shares outstanding.
American Realty Capital Trust's portfolio includes 485 properties in various industries across the country. Company executives said that the portfolio is 100 percent occupied with a weighted average remaining lease duration of more than 13 years.
The company was launched four years ago as a public, non-traded REIT. In 2011, the company initiated the process to review strategic alternatives, which included a possible listing of the company on a public exhange as a liquidity event for shareholders.
Schorsch said the timing worked out well for the company.
"We think that the markets are very ripe for equity investors looking for yield, durable income and stable platforms," he said. "We are the only investment-grade, focused net lease REIT."
Schorsch said that he anticipated American Realty Capital Trust would either be sold or listed within six years. In the past four years, the company raised approximately $1.7 billion in capital through 40,000 investors as a non-listed REIT. American Realty made the move to list and be publicly traded after internalizing the management services of American Realty Capital Advisors LLC, which enabled the company to become a self-administered REIT. William Kahane now serves as American Realty's CEO and president.
Schorsch said he expects that more real estate companies will choose to go public in the near future.
"We think this is going to be a positive time for companies to come into the public market," he said. "I think it will be revolutionary for the non-traded REITs, as they see you can do this without an internalization fee and [at] lower cost to investors."