<p>S&P Global Ratings cites improving operating fundamentals in addition to the Company's ongoing commitment to maintaining healthy liquidity levels and balance sheet strength</p>
TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) announced today that S&P Global Ratings ("S&P") has revised its rating outlook for Welltower to Stable from Negative and affirmed Welltower's issuer credit rating as 'BBB+'. S&P highlighted in its research update that seniors housing assets are likely to exhibit several strong years of growth given healthy demographic trends and a favorable supply backdrop. Notably, the Company's seniors housing operating portfolio has already reported occupancy gains of 380 basis points (bps) since trough occupancy on March 12, 2021, led by the US and UK portfolios which have reported occupancy gains of 520 basis points and 440 basis points, respectively1.
In addition to improving operating fundamentals, S&P also emphasized the management team's ongoing commitment to maintaining liquidity and balance sheet strength. In its report, S&P noted that Welltower acted defensively throughout 2020 to mitigate the impact of cash flow erosion resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately ending the year with more than $2.0 billion in cash. S&P also noted that while Welltower pivoted to offense in 2021, its focus on the balance sheet hasn't wavered, funding acquisitions in a leverage-neutral manner. The management team also took steps in recent months to bolster liquidity and improve the Company's capital structure through an amended and upsized revolving credit facility and refinancing upcoming unsecured debt maturities.
"We are pleased with S&P's upgrade of our rating outlook to stable," commented Tim McHugh, Welltower's Chief Financial Officer. "The upgrade reflects the numerous measures Welltower has taken over the past 18 months to maintain a healthy balance sheet and strong liquidity profile despite the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the recovery in our seniors housing operating portfolio in recent months demonstrates the needs-based nature of the asset class which, we believe, should continue to drive outsized cash flow growth in the years to come."
S&P's full report on Welltower can be found on S&P's website at www.spglobal.com.
Welltower® Inc. (NYSE: WELL), an S&P 500 company headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, is driving the transformation of health care infrastructure. The Company invests with leading seniors housing operators, post-acute providers and health systems to fund the real estate and infrastructure needed to scale innovative care delivery models and improve people's wellness and overall health care experience. Welltower, a real estate investment trust ("REIT"), owns interests in properties concentrated in major, high-growth markets in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, consisting of seniors housing, post-acute communities and outpatient medical properties. More information is available at www.welltower.com
1 As of September 3, 2021
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SOURCE Welltower Inc.