MISSION VIEJO, Calif., 16th November 2009 The Ensign Group, Inc., the parent company of the Ensign(TM) group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, hospice care and assisted living companies, announced that a group of its real estate holding subsidiaries has placed mortgages on six of the Company’s 27 unencumbered properties to secure a $40 million five-year term loan from GE Capital’s (NYSE: GE) Healthcare Financial Services business.
“With the increasing volume of compelling acquisition opportunities we believe we are seeing, it was a good time to tap some of the unleveraged equity in our 27 unencumbered facilities,” said Suzanne Snapper, Ensign’s Chief Financial Officer.
Ms. Snapper noted that Ensign still has 21 unencumbered facilities in its 73-facility portfolio, and has historically borrowed against its assets at conservative levels to fund new acquisitions. “Consistent with our past practice, we expect to continue leveraging our accumulated real estate equity in a disciplined fashion to support the Company’s continuing expansion,” she added.
The new loan carries a five-year term, with a combination of LIBOR-based fixed-rate and floating-rate interest provisions that apply over the loan term.
Greg Stapley, Ensign’s Executive Vice President, attributed the company’s ability to secure the loan on attractive terms to Ensign’s strong balance sheet and solid operating history. “We expect to use the proceeds to add more quality assets to our portfolio, to enhance our competitive position in our target markets and to further strengthen our balance sheet,” he added.
He also expressed appreciation for lender GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services. “GE Capital has been and continues to be a strong credit partner, and we are pleased to be expanding and extending that relationship yet again,” he said.
Mr. Stapley added that Ensign is actively seeking opportunities to acquire both well-performing and struggling long-term care operations across the Western United States. Ensign’s growing portfolio now totals 73 facilities, 42 of which are Ensign-owned and 21 of which are unencumbered, with Ensign affiliates holding purchase options on nine of Ensign’s 31 leased facilities.