Americold Refinances $1.2B+ Unsecured Credit Facility

The transaction expands the REIT’s borrowing capacity and reduces its cost of capital, while extending debt maturities and increasing liquidity.
Image via

Americold Realty Trust has refinanced its $800 million multicurrency revolving line of credit, expanding it with $425 million and CAD $250 million term loans. The new revolver and term loans’ maturities were extended, inclusive of extension options, to 2025, which increased Americold’s total real estate debt duration to 6.8 years as of Dec. 31, 2019.  In addition, the company tightened the credit spread on the revolver and term loans by 5 basis points and increased flexibility by improving financial covenants.

READ ALSO: April Fool’s Day 2020: No Joke for Borrowers, Loan Servicers

With the completion of this refinancing and including the funding for all announced developments and acquisitions, Americold’s total liquidity, consisting of cash, revolver and equity forwards, exceeds $1 billion. The term loan in Canadian dollars “creates a natural hedge for our recent Nova Cold acquisition,” Americold CFO Marc Smernoff said in a prepared statement. He was referring to Americold’s purchase last November of Nova Cold Logistics, a Canadian operator of temperature-controlled warehouses, from Brookfield Business Partners for $254 million.

The new credit facility is being led by BofA Securities Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., Citibank N.A., Royal Bank of Canada, Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., New York Branch and Suntrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. as joint lead arrangers.

BBVA USA, Citizens Bank N.A., Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc., Regions Bank and U.S. Bank N.A. are serving as documentation agents. Agcountry Farm Credit Services FLCA and Compeer Financial PCA are additional participants.

Investors warm to cold storage

Based in Atlanta, Americold is the world’s largest publicly traded REIT focused on developing, acquiring, owning and operating temperature-controlled warehouses. It owns and operates 178 temperature-controlled warehouses, totaling more than 1 billion refrigerated cubic feet of storage, in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Argentina.

In February, Americold announced plans to form a joint venture with leading Brazilian cold storage operator SuperFrio, buying a 15 percent stake in the company, with the option to acquire full ownership of SuperFrio starting in 2023.

A recent report from CBRE described a narrowing gap in cap rates between cold storage and dry storage facilities, driven in part by surging online grocery sales. Increasing transaction volume in this niche sector is challenged, however, by high construction and maintenance costs, a dearth of assets for sale, and difficulties finding knowledgeable operators.