TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2008 - Split REIT Opportunity Trust (TSX:SOT.UN) announces a distribution of $0.0875 per Capital Unit for the month ending October 31, 2008. The distribution will be paid on or before November 14, 2008 to unitholders of record on October 31, 2008.
As unitholders are aware, extraordinary economic and financial conditions are affecting global markets. The manager is continuously monitoring the performance of the Trust's portfolio and assessing the appropriate distribution level for the Trust.
Canadian REITs have been impacted by the credit crisis in two ways. First, REITs rely on debt financing, so higher expected debt costs have led to lower valuations for their existing portfolios. Second, the market fears that tighter credit conditions might lead to a slowing economy and possibly lower occupancy rates and rents. While it is difficult to predict the ultimate path the economy will take, REIT fundamentals are starting from a very healthy base, with conservative debt ratios and no over-supply concerns across most sectors and geographic regions.
While challenging, today's environment bodes best for well capitalized, conservatively managed REITs. Over the past several months the Trust has positioned itself increasingly towards larger, more stable REITs with better access to capital and will continue to do so going forward. Governments around the world are making every effort to thaw the frozen credit markets that are hampering the world's economy and should ultimately be successful. As credit markets improve, REIT valuations will move back to levels which better reflect their conservative nature and stable cashflows. While waiting for improving prices, REITs continue to pay out reliable monthly distributions.
The Trust does not currently employ any leverage and holds approximately a 21% cash position allowing it to selectively take advantage of investment opportunities at very attractive valuations and higher average yields going forward.
For further information, please contact Rob MacNiven, Investor Relations, First Asset at 416-642-1289 or 1-877-642-1289 or visit www.firstasset.com.