Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walgreens, Cvs, and Rite Aid - What Re Investors Should Know in 2011

Walgreens, Cvs or Rite-Aid: Which Tenant Is Best in 2011?

There are 3 major drugstore chains in the Us: Walgreens, Cvs, and Rite Aid. Below are some key statistics about the 3 major drugstore chains as of July 2010:

Health Care Reforms

Walgreens ranks #1 with market cap of .33 Billion, .25 Billion in revenue, and S&P rating of A+. Agreeing to Walgreens, 75% Us people lives within 3 miles from its stores. On Oct 1, 2009, Walgreens opened its 7000-th store in Brooklyn, New York. In April 2010, it acquired 258 Duane Reade drug market in New York Metropolitan area. Cvs ranks #2 with market cap of .09 Billion, .1 Billion in income (Cvs income alone is less than Walgreens if income from its Caremark group is taken out), and S&P rating of Bbb+. Cvs opened its 7000-th store in little Canada, Minnesota on October 5, 2009 and currently operates 7025 drug stores.. Rite Aid ranks #3 with market cap of 9 Million, .53 Billion in revenue, 4780 drug market and S&P rating of B-.

Walgreens, Cvs, and Rite Aid - What Re Investors Should Know in 2011

Investors buy properties occupied by these drugstore chains for the following reasons:

The drugstore business is very recession-insensitive. people need medicine when they are sick, regardless of the state of the economy. Both rich and poor people in the Us have passage to medicine. Some even argue that low-income people use more medicine due to free or low-cost drugs offered by government-assisted programs. So the tenants should do well during tough time and have money to pay rent to landlords. The drugstore business has a good expectation in the Us: People are living longer and need more medicine to hold longevity, e.g. Actonel for osteoporosis, Aricept for Alzheimer's symptoms. Older people tend to use more medicine than younger ones as they often have more curative problems. As the 78 million baby boomers are getting closer to retiring age starting from 2008, the drugstore chains anticipate the inquire for medicine to growth in next 20 years. The drug market continues to progress as the Us people will continue to grow. More and more Americans suffer from assorted diseases. The estimate of Americans suffers from seasonal allergies doubled in the last 15 years to 37 million people per Fortune magazine. They spent .4 Billion in 2009 for allergy drugs. As their waist lines balloon (75% of Americans are forecasted to be whether overweight or obese by 2020), more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol at younger and younger ages. In addition, doctors also recommend treating assorted diseases sooner than later due to good insight about the diseases. For example, doctors now designate antiretroviral drugs for patients soon after infected with Hiv virus instead of waiting for the infection to become Aids. More doctors integrate insulin with oral medicines to treat type-2 Diabetes instead of just oral medicines alone. All these factors growth the size of the drug market. Advance in genetic engineering has introduced assorted new genetic Dna testing kits which allow the genetic prognosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and disorders. Genetic testing is currently the highest growth segment in the diagnostics industry. Some of these genetic tests will probably transform into direct-to-consumer testing kits available in drug market in the near future. Upon Fda approval, these new products will potentially bring in supplementary income for drug stores. The passage of health Care Reform Bill on March 23, 2010 provides guarnatee coverage to an estimated 33 million more American. This is a major present to the drugstore industry. There are new drugs to treat previously untreatable illnesses, and new diseases, e.g. Viagra for men's unhappiness, Zoloft for depression, Avastin for colon cancer, Herceptin for breast cancer, Nicotine patches for smokers to kick the habit, Tamiflu for a inherent bird flu pandemic, vaccine for swine (H1N1) flu pandemic, Tekturna/Rasilez for hypertension and assorted new drugs for Aids and concentration Deficit Disorder (Add). The new medicines are very expensive, e.g. A year's contribute of Avastin costs about ,000. Eli Lilly has sold about .8 billion of Zyprexa in 2007 for schizophrenia and yet most people have never heard of this medicine. There are existing drugs now approved to treat new illnesses and thus growth their sales revenue. For example, Lyrica was originally intended to treat pain caused by nerve damage in people with diabetes. It is now approved by Fda to treat Fibromyalgia which affects 5.8 million Americans per WebMd. Big advances in genetics, biology and stem cells investigate are predicted to furnish a new class of drugs to treat diabetes, Parkinson's and assorted rare genetic disorders. For example the new drug Ilaris from Novartis targets genetic causes of an inherited disorder that there are only 7000 known cases worldwide. However, Novartis hopes to gradually broaden its drugs to a blockbuster drug to more tasteless disorders caused by similar genetics. Technology and contemporary life introduce and wish new products, e.g. Pregnancy test kits, Lamisil for stronger clearer toe nails, Latisse for longer & thicker eyelashes, Premarin for menopausal symptoms, diabetic monitors, electronic toothbrushes, sense lenses, lenses cleaners, diet pills, vitamins, birth-control pills, Iuds, cusine supplements and Cholesterol-lowering pills (Americans spent nearly B in 2006 on Cholesterol medications alone per Ims Health, a Connecticut-based consulting business that monitors pharmaceutical sales.) There are also more surgeries: C-sections, Kidney transplants, open-heart triple by-pass, and breast augmentations. More surgeries mean more medicines are needed such as Vicodin for pain supervision and Warfarin to prevent blood clots in surgeries. Before the customers can get to the medicine aisles or pharmacy counters, they have to pass by chocolates, sodas, digital cameras, watches, toys, dolls, beers and wines, cosmetics, video games, flowers, fragrances, and greeting cards. Drug market hope you use the one-hour photos services and transfer your liquid propane tanks there. The market also carry seasonal items, e.g. Halloween costumes, and "As Seen on Tv" merchandise, e.g. Shamwow. As a result, customers buy more than their prescriptions and medicine in these drugstores. Rite Aid sells more 28,000 non-pharmacy items in its market while Walgreens has 22,000 distinct items on store shelves. Cvs reported that non-pharmacy sales represented 30% of the company's total sales in January of 2007. The outline for Walgreens is 34% and 37% for Rite Aid. Many pharmacy locations are in ensue convenience market especially ones that are in residential or rural areas. And so Walgreens hopes that customers also pick up Wd-44, and screw drivers at its market instead of at Home Depot; Thai Jasmine rice, and fish sauce to avoid a trip to Safeway or Kroger Supermarkets. during the recession, sales of these non-drug items are down as customers buy what they need and not what they want. Walgreens tries to sell out the estimate of items by 4000. It also introduces its own private label which has higher behalf margins. There are more and more generic medications on the market as a estimate of enormously beloved brand-name blockbusters will lose their 20-year long patents, e.g. Lipitor (best selling drug in the world to lower cholesterol) in 2010, Viagra (you know what it's for) in 2012. Drugstores prefer to sell generic drugs to customers due to higher behalf margins than the brand-name medications. Some people are addicted to pain killers, e.g. Hydrocodone and consume a large estimate of medicine, e.g. 30-day dosage in a day to get high. Agreeing to testimony from the National institute on Drug Abuse, Us retail pharmacies dispensed nearly 180 million prescriptions in 2007 for opiates, e.g. Hydrocodone. A high percentage of these prescriptions are probably not used for any legitimate curative purposes. This author estimates that at least 10% of the dispensed designate drugs are not used at all and sit idle in the medicine cabinets. They are eventually expired and thrown away. These companies sign very long-term, Nnn leases, guaranteed by their corporate assets. This makes the investment in the basal asset fairly low risk, especially for Walgreens with an A+ S&P rating. In fact, these properties are sometimes referred to as investment-grade properties. Once the drugstore chains sign the lease, they pay the rent right away and timely. This author is not aware of any properties leased by one of these drugstore chains in which the tenants failed to pay rents. Even when the market are terminated due to weak sales (Walgreens terminated 119 market in 2007), these companies may sublease the properties to other companies and continue to pay rents on the specialist leases. A typical Walgreens lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 8-10 five-year options. during primary term and options, there will be no rent increases in most of the leases. This is the main disadvantage of investing in Walgreens drugstores. A typical Cvs lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-5 five-year options. The rent is ordinarily flat during the primary term and then there is a 2.5%-10% rent growth in the in each 5-year option. A typical Rite Aid lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-8 five-year options. The lease often has a rent growth every 5-10 years.

Investment Risks: Although the pharmacy business in general is recession-insensitive, there are risks involved in your investment:

The main downside about investing in pharmacies is there is little or no rent bump for a long time, e.g. 20-50 years, especially for Walgreens. So the rent is effectively reduced after inflation is factored in. This is one of the main reasons these properties do not appeal to younger investors. The 3 drugstore chains now have a new formidable competitor, Wal-mart. Wal-mart sells designate drugs in more than 4000 Wal-mart, Sam's Club and Neighborhood market market in 49 states. The retail giant is known for launching in 2006 a highly-publicized generic designate drug program which now sells 350 generic medications for a 30-day supply. The actual estimate of medications is less as the medications with distinct strengths are counted as distinct medications. For example, Metformin 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg are counted as 3 medications. Wal-mart probably makes very little profits on these medications if any. However, the marketing campaign--created by Bill Simon, the President and Ceo of Wal-mart Us, generates a lot of publicity for Wal-mart. Wal-mart hopes to draw customers to its market with other prescriptions where it has higher behalf margins. In an unscientific study with just one brand-name designate of Lyrica, this author finds the lowest price at Costco, the highest price at Walgreens and Wal-mart at the middle. Other drug chains try to counter Wal-mart in distinct ways. Target now offers the same 350 generic medications for for a 30-day supply. Walgreens has a designate drugs club with membership fee which offers 1400 generic medications for as little as /week. Cvs says it will match any offers from its competitors. Chief business Correspondent Rick Newman from Us World & News record predicted that Rite Aid might not survive in 2009. While Rite Aid is still colse to in 2010, dire predictions continue. The study by Audit Integrity gave Rite Aid about a 10.5 percent opportunity of filing for bankruptcy in 2010. Drugs are also sold in thousands of supermarkets, Target stores, and Costco warehouses. However, there are no drive-thru windows at these market or Walmart to comfortably drop off the prescriptions and pick up medicines. Customers will not be able to pick up their prescriptions during lunch hour or after 7Pm at Target market or supermarkets. They need to have membership to buy medicines at Costco. Others may not fill their prescriptions at Walmart because they don't want to mingle with typical Walmart customers who are in lower income brackets. And some babyboomers don't want their prescriptions filled at Target or Walmart because there are no comfortable chairs for them to sit down to wait for their medicines. Many leases in areas with hurricanes and tornados are Nnn leases with the exception of roof and structure. So if the roof is damaged, you will have to pay for the expenses. The tenant may move to a new location down the road or across the road when the lease expires. This risk is high when the asset is located in small town where there is low barricade for entry, i.e. Lots of vacant & developable land. The tenant may ask for rent concession to improve its lowest line. The possibility is higher if the tenant is Rite Aid and if the store has low sales income and/or higher than market rent. More Americans are walking away from their prescriptions, especially the most costly brand-name medicines. This may have negative impact on the sales income and profits of drug market and consequently may cause drug store closures. Agreeing to Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solution, a health-care data company, nearly 1 in 10 new prescriptions for brand-name drugs were abandoned by people with commercial health plans in 2010. This is up 88% compared to 4 years ago just before the recession began. This trend is driven in part by higher and higher co-pays for brand name drugs as employers are shifting more guarnatee costs to their employees.

Among 3 drugstore chains, Walgreens and Cvs pharmacies in general have the best locations-at major intersections while Rite Aid has less than selected locations. Walgreens tends to hire only the top graduates from pharmacy schools while Rite Aid settles with lowest graduates to save costs. When inherent all drugstore chains try to fill the prescriptions with generic medications which have higher behalf margins

Walgreens: the business was founded in 1901 by Charles Walgreen, Sr. In Chicago. While the business has existed for more than 100 years, most market are only 5-10 years old. This is the best managed business among the three drugstore chains and also among the most admired social companies in the Us. The business has been run by executives with proven track records and hires the top graduates from universities. Due to its superior financial strength--S&P A+ rating-- and selected irreplaceable locations, properties with leases from Walgreens get the highest price per quadrate foot and/or the lowest cap rate among the 3 drugstore chains. In addition, Walgreens gets flat rent or very low rent growth for 20 to 60 years. The cap rate is often in the low 6% to 7.5% range in 2009. Investors who buy Walgreens tend to be more mature, i.e. Closer to retirement age. They are looking for a safe investment where it's more important to get the rent check than to get appreciation. They often compare the returns on their Walgreens investment with the lower returns from Us treasury bonds or Certificate of Deposits from banks. Walgreens opened many new market in 2008 and 2009 and thus you see many new Walgreens market for sale. It will slow down this expansion in 2010 and focus on renewal of existing market instead

Cvs: Cvs Corporation was founded in 1963 in Lowell, Ma by Stanley Goldstein, Sidney Goldstein, and Ralph Hoagland. The name Cvs stands for "Consumer Value Stores". As of 2009, Cvs has about 6300 market in the Us, mostly through acquisitions. In 2004, Cvs bought 1,200 Eckerd Drugstores mostly in Texas and Florida. In 2006, Cvs bought 700 Savon and Osco drugstores mostly in Southern California. And in 2008 Cvs acquired 521 Longs Drugs market in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona for .9B dollars. The acquisition of Long Drugs appears to be a good one as it Cvs does not have any market in Northern Ca and Arizona. Besides, the price also included real estate. It is also bought Caremark, the largest pharmaceutical services business and changed the corporation name to Cvs Caremark. When Cvs bought 1,200 Eckerd stores, it formed a single-entity Llc (Limited Liability Company) to own each Eckerd store. Each Llc signs the lease with the asset owner. In the event of a default, the owner can only legally go after the assets of the Llc and not from any other Cvs-owned assets. Although the owner loses the guaranty safety from Cvs corporate assets, this author is not aware of any incident where Cvs closes a store and does not pay rent.

Rite-Aid: Rite Aid was founded by Alex Grass (he just passed away on Aug 27, 2009 at the age of 82) and opened its first store in 1962 as "Thrif D discount Center" in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It officially incorporated as Rite Aid Corporation and went social in 1968. By the time Alex Grass stepped down as the company's chairman and chief administrative officer in 1995, Rite Aid was the nation's largest drugstore chain in terms of total market and No. 2 in terms of revenue. His son, Martin Grass, took over but was ousted in 1999 for overstatement of Rite Aid's income in the late 1990s. Rite Aid is now the weakest financially among the 3 drugstore chains. In 2007, Rite-Aid acquired about 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd drugstores, mostly along the East coast to catch up with Walgreens and Cvs. In the process, it added a huge long term debt (currently owes over .69 Billion) and is the most leveraged drugstore chain based on its market value. The integration of Brooks and Eckerd did not seem to go well. income from some of these market went down as much as 20% after they change the sign to Rite Aid. In 2009, Rite-Aid had over 4900 market and over Billion in revenues. The figures went down in 2010 to 4780 market and .53 billion in revenue. On January 21, 2009 Moody's Investor Services downgraded Rite Aid from "Caa1" to "Caa2", eight notches below investment grade. Both ratings are "junk" which indicate very high reputation risk. Rite Aid contacted a estimate of its landlords in 2009 trying to get rent concession to improve the lowest line. In June 2009, Rite Aid successfully completed refinancing .9 Billion of its debts. However, it continues to struggle in 2010 as same store sales decreased 2.5% in June, 1.7% in May, 1% in April,.1% in March, 3.2% in February, and 2.1% in January..

Things to think when invested in a pharmacy

If you are interested in investing in a asset leased by drugstore chains, here are a few things you should consider:

If you want a low risk investment, go with Walgreens. In garage or growing areas, the degree of safety is the same whether the asset is in California where you get a 6% cap or Texas where you may get a 7.5% cap. So, there is no indispensable advantage to invest in properties in California as the asset value is based primarily on the cap rate. In 2010, the offered cap rate for Walgreens seems to come down from 7.5%-8.4% in 2009 to 6.5%-7.5% for new stores. If you are willing to take more risk, then go with Rite-Aid. Some properties covering of California may offer up to 10% cap rate in 2010. However, among the 3 drug chains, Rite Aid has 10.5% opportunity of going under in 2010. Should it utter bankruptcy, Rite Aid has the option to pick and select which locations to keep open and which locations to end the lease. To minimize the risk that the store is shuttered, select a location with strong sales and low rent to income ratio. Financing should be an important consideration. While the cap rate is lower for Walgreens than Rite Aid, you will be able to get the best rates and terms for Walgreens. A 7.25% cap Walgreens with 5.25% interest rate on the loan will generate more cash flow than a 10% cap Rite Aid with 9% interest rate (if you could find a lender for Rite Aid). If you are not a conservative investor or risk taker, you may want to think a Cvs pharmacy. It has Bbb+ S&P reputation rating. Its cap rate is higher than Walgreens but lower than Rite Aid. Some leases may offer good rent bumps. On the other hand, some Cvs leases, especially for properties in hurricane areas, e.g. Florida are not truly Nnn leases where landlords are responsible for the roof and structure. So make sure you adjust the cap rate down accordingly. Some of the Cvs locations have onsite Minuteclinic staffed by registered nurses. Since this clinic idea was introduced recently, it's not clear having a clinic inside Cvs is a plus or minus to the lowest line of the store. All 3 drugstore chains have similar requirements. They all want very visible, standalone, rectangular asset colse to 10,000 - 14,500 Sf on a 1.5 - 2 acre lot, preferably at a projection with about 75 - 80 parking spaces in a growing and high traffic location. They all wish the asset to have a drive-thru. Hence, you should avoid purchasing an inline property, i.e. Not standalone and asset with no drive-thru windows. There is a opportunity that these drugstores may not want to renew the lease unless the asset is located in a densely-populated area with no vacant land nearby. In addition, if you fetch a asset that does not meet the new requirements, for example a drive-thru, you may have a question getting financing as lenders are aware of these requirements. If the pharmacy is opened 24 hours a day, it is in a good location. Drugstore chains do not open the store 24 hours day unless the location draws customers. Many properties may have a percentage lease, i.e. The landlord can get supplementary rent when the store's each year income exceeds a definite figure, e.g. M. However, the income used to compute percentage rent often excludes a page-long list of items, e.g. Wine and sodas, tobacco products, items sold after 10 Pm, drugs paid by governmental programs. The excluded sales income could account for as much as 70% of store's gross revenue. As a result, this author has seen only 2 market in which the landlord is able to fetch supplementary percentage rent. The store with a percentage rent is required to record its monthly sales to the landlord. As an investors, you want to invest in a store with strong gross sales, e.g. Over 0 per quadrate foot a year. In addition, you also want to check the rent to income ratio. If the outline is in the 2-4% range, the store is likely to be very profitable so the opportunity the store is shut down is low. It does not matter how good the tenants are, avoid investing in declining and/or low-income areas or small towns with less than 30,000 residents within 5 miles ring. In a small town, it may be the only drug store in town and captures most of the market share. However, if a competitor opens a new location in the area, income may be severely affected. These properties are easy to buy now and hard to sell later. In 2009 where the reputation market is tight, you may have problems looking a lender to finance these properties. Many properties have an existing loan that the buyer must assume. If you have a 1031 exchange, think twice about buying this property. You should clearly understand loan assumption requirements of the lenders before spicy forward. Should you fail to assume the existing loan (assuming an existing loan is a lot more difficult than getting a new loan), you may run out of time for a 1031 transfer and may be liable to pay capital gain. With few exceptions, drugstore chains do not own the market they occupy for several reasons. Here are just a integrate of them: They know the pharmacy business but don't know real estate. Stock investors also don't want Walgreens to become a real estate investment company. Owning the real estate will wish them to carry lots of long term debts which is not a great idea for a publicly-traded company. About 10% of the drugstore properties for sale and typically Cvs pharmacies wish very small estimate of equity to acquire, e.g. 10% of the buy price. However, you are required to assume an existing fully-amortized loan with zero cash flow. That is, all of the rent paid by the tenant must be used to pay down the loan. The cap rate may be in the 7% range, and the interest rate on the loan could be spicy in the 5.5% to 6% range. Hence, the investor pays off the loan in 10 to 20 years. However, the investor has no definite cash flow. This requires you to come up with covering cash to pay income tax on the rental profits (the variation between the rent and mortgage interest). The longer you own the property, the more covering cash you will need to pay income taxes as the mortgage interest will get less and less toward the end. So who would buy this kind of property? The investors who have colossal losses from other properties. By acquiring this zero cash flow property, they may offset the income from the drugstore tenant against the losses from other investment properties. For example, a asset has 5,000 of rental profits a year, and the investor also has losses of 0,000 from other investment properties. As a result, the combined dutible profits are only ,000. The uninformed investors who fail to think that they have to raise supplementary cash to pay income taxes.

Out of the Box thinking If you put too much weigh on the S&P rating of the tenants, you may end up whether taking a lot of risks or passing up good opportunities.

Good location should be the key in your decision on which drug store to invest in. It's often said a lousy business should do well at a great location while the best tenant will fail at a lousy location. A Walgreens store that is terminated down later on (yes, Walgreens terminated 119 market in 2007) is still a bad investment even though Walgreens continues paying rent on time. So you don't want to blindly invest in a drug store simply because it hasa Walgreens sign on the building. No business is crazy sufficient to close a profitable location. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that a financially-weak business like Rite Aid will make every effort to keep a profitable location open. On the other hand, a financially-strong Walgreens will need justifications to keep an unprofitable location open. So how do you settle if a drug store location is profitable or not if the tenant is not required to disclose its behalf & loss statement? The respond is you cannot. However, you can make an educated guess based on store's each year gross income is often reported to the landlord as required by the percentage clause in the lease. With the gross revenue, you can settle the rent to income ratio. The lower the ratio, the more likely the store is profitable. For example, if the each year base rent is 0,000 while the store's gross income is M then the rent to income ratio is 5%. As a rule of thumb, it's hard to make a behalf if this ratio is more than 8%. So if you see a Rite Aid with 3% rent to income ratio then you know it's likely a very profitable location. In the event Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, it will keep this location open and continue paying rent. If you see a Rite Aid drug store with 3% rent to income ratio offering 11% cap, chances are it's a low risk investment with good returns. The infirmity of corporate guaranty from Rite Aid is probably not as indispensable and the risk of having Rite Aid as a tenant is not nothing else but that significant. Drug market with new 25 years leases tend to sell at lower cap, e.g. 7-7.5% cap on new market versus 8.0-8.5% cap on established locations with 8-10 years remaining on the lease. This is because investors are afraid that the tenants may not renew the leases. Unfortunately, lenders also have the same fear! As a ensue many lenders will not finance drug market with 2-3 years left on the leases. The fact that drugstores with new leases have a selected on the price means they have inherent of 10% depreciation (buying new at 7.3% cap and selling at 8.3% cap when the leases have 10 year left). Some investors will not think investing in drug market with 5-10 years left on the lease. They might simply ignore the fact that the established market may be at irreplaceable locations with very strong sales. Tenants simply have no other choices other than renewing the lease.

Walgreens, Cvs, and Rite Aid - What Re Investors Should Know in 2011

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