By Michael Bellusci
‘The Bow’ tower, located in Canada’s corporate energy hub in downtown Calgary, houses the oil & gas driller as its largest tenant. Uncertainty surrounding Encana’s commitment to Calgary with its plans to move its headquarters stateside means “it is less likely that H&R will be able to sell a partial interest in The Bow at a value that management would find agreeable,” BMO analyst Jenny Ma said in an Oct. 31 report.
Encana represents 11.9% of H&R’s rental income and its lease obligations expire in 2038, according to the REIT’s presentation as of June 30. Cenovus Energy, which was spun out of Encana, has a sublet of 27 floors. Pipeline giant TC Energy Corp., also located in downtown Calgary, generates 1.9% of H&R’s rental income.
H&R’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hofstedter said during its second-quarter earnings call in August (and before Encana’s announcement Thursday) that it was still considering the possibility of a partial sale of The Bow, and hopes to get clarity “before the year is out if we can actually execute on our plan.”
H&R’s management “confirmed that Encana must maintain its lease obligations through to the end of the term,” BMO’s Ma said, and re-domiciling is more of “symbolic blow to Calgary” and the city’s office market. The office vacancy rate in Calgary was 24.3% as of Sept. 30, as both the downtown (26.6% vacancy rate) and suburban areas (20.6%) are hurting, BMO added.