Potential Effect on Financial Statements Issuance of Outstanding Debt — Barry G. Moss

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3 min readNov 30, 2023
Photo by Masood Aslami on Pexels

As we approach the crucial time of financial statement issuance in early 2024, companies are facing a pivotal moment in assessing the impact of their debt on their operational viability over the next 12 months. The recent Wall Street Journal article, “Squeezed Property Owners Put Their Faith in the Fed,” underscores the challenges that rising interest rates pose for property companies, adding a layer of complexity to this evaluation. The repercussions of these rate hikes are evident in the decline of property values and the distress of securitized property loans. Landlords are grappling with the need to refinance a substantial amount of commercial real estate debt by the end of 2025, and falling property values have made this refinancing process particularly troublesome.

One significant hurdle is the expiration of interest-rate hedges for those with floating-rate debt. The cost of renewing these hedges has surged, adding financial strain to landlords already dealing with increased equity requirements due to stricter loan-to-value thresholds. The article emphasizes the difficulty in raising rents to counterbalance higher financing costs, especially in sectors such as office spaces where rents are on the decline in many U.S. cities. As a commercial real estate and finance industry expert, I share the concern raised in the article regarding the potential financial strain on landlords. The challenges of refinancing, coupled with the increasing cost of debt, are indeed noteworthy. The situation is particularly dire for speculative investors who had hoped to capitalize on property value appreciation but now find themselves in a challenging market where values have significantly decreased.

During the financial statement issuance process, companies must carefully evaluate their debt levels and interest carry costs to ensure they can weather the next 12 months. The tightening stance of banks on refinancing debt further complicates the landscape for real estate companies. The question looms: Will their current bank or another be willing to refinance debt maturing within the next year? Navigating these uncertainties becomes a critical aspect of gaining auditor confidence that debt due in 2024 can be successfully refinanced.

Proactively addressing potential issues in these areas is paramount. Any challenges in debt refinancing or operational sustainability can lead to additional financial statement disclosures and adjustments to the auditor’s report. Companies must strategically navigate these intricacies to ensure a smooth financial statement issuance and mitigate the impact of rising interest rates on their financial health.

Read the original article here.

Connect with Barry Moss on LinkedIn.

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