GREENWICH, CT—Starwood Property Trust beat analysts’ consensus predictions for first-quarter earnings by six cents per share. The REIT said Tuesday its core earnings for Q1 reached $121.5 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to $58.1 million the year prior; the year-over-year gain in earnings was due in part to its acquisition of LNR Property LLC last year. Separately, STWD said it had promoted Rina Paniry to succeed Stew Ward as CFO, effective Wednesday.
STWD previously had come in ahead of analysts’ consensus in reporting its results for Q4 2013. As of this past Friday, a consensus of eight analysts covering the REIT had recommended buying its stock, the Financial Times reported. In April, BofA/Merrill Lynch upgraded STWD from “neutral” to “buy.”
Barry Sternlicht, STWD’s chairman and CEO, cites the strong momentum of the REIT’s commercial real estate lending business, which did $1.7 billion of originations in Q1, “and is on track for the year to exceed the record $3 billion of capital we deployed in our lending operations in 2013.” He adds that with its balance sheet capacity and flexibility, along with “an ever-expanding pipeline,” STWD is “well-positioned to sustain our pursuit of opportunities that can provide exceptionally attractive risk-adjusted returns in a low interest rate world, which should translate into consistent yields for our shareholders.”
Pinary comes to the CFO chair at STWD from its LNR Property subsidiary, which it acquired a year ago. She joined LNR in 2006 as chief accounting officer, and spent 11 years with Deloitte & Touche prior to that.
Additionally, STWD said it had hired Zach Tanenbaum in the newly created role of director of investor relations. Most recently, Tanenbaum was a senior analyst at Wesley Capital Management, where he focused on the real estate and specialty finance sectors.