Corus Bank – One of the Many Publicly Owned Real Estate-Related Companies to See Trouble Ahead
In previous posts, I’ve revealed that Corus Bank is a prominent lender to condo developers in Miami Miami Beach. A recently published article by TheStreet.com entitled “Corus Swept Up in Florida Condo Undertow” may reveal that my analysis of Corus Bank was actually conservative. The article revealed that, for good reason, “55 percent of the stock’s float is being sold short, meaning that investors are betting on a decline in the stock’s value”.
This figure is as of no surprise to me knowing the full extent of Corus Bank’s lending practices to Miami and Miami Beach developments such as Ivy at Riverfront, Mint at Riverfront, Paramount Bay, Infinity at Brickell, Jade Ocean, Continuum South Beach North Tower, Artecity, Marina Blue, Caribbean, Quantum on the Bay and Onyx on the Bay. My guess is that at least six of the ten developments will have problems that extend far beyond what many have imagined.
Since August 4, 2007, when I mentioned Corus Bank (NASDAQ: CORS) in one of my posts, the stock has lost a little over 22 percent of its value. I am definitely not saying that I had anything to do with that. Much of the loss was due to two articles about Corus Bank that were written by TheStreet.com towards the end of August. People have begun to see that Corus Bank has troubled times ahead if condo developers in Miami and Miami Beach have difficulty closing on their units.
Recently, Corus Bank paid its shareholders a cash dividend of 25 cents per share. At first glance, this news may sound promising for Corus Bank since it shows that they have extra cash on-hand. However, my sources tell me otherwise. Joseph Glickman, Chairman of Corus Bank, and his family control about 50 percent of the company. The cash dividend may be a way of getting cash out of the company.
If Mr. Glickman and his family had confidence in the company’s future and felt that the stock was undervalued then they would instead use the company cash to buy back its own stock. The family would then control a larger stake in the company. Earlier this year, the board authorized a share repurchase program but they have yet to repurchase one share of stock.
My source has disclosed to me the following: “Years ago Corus used to include in their 10-K Annual Report an analysis of their loan losses should a serious real estate recession occur. 2004 was the last time they performed the analysis (by the way, interesting to note is that they stopped providing this disclosure to shareholders). You can find the one from 2004 here. Just go to page 70 of the Annual Report for the “Commercial Real Estate Risk” section. Back then they were estimating that they would incur $143M in loan losses from their $5.3B loan portfolio should such a serious real estate recession occur. Well, fast forward three years and their loan balance has grown to $8B for the most recent quarter (6/30/07). Applying the same ratio from the 2004 analysis, I estimate that their loan losses could exceed $200M today. That’s more than a quarter of their book value. Now of course this is all hypothetical. Corus did not disclose how they were arriving at those numbers, or how they were defining a ‘serious real estate recession’. It’s garbage-in garbage-out as they say, but at least the analysis they used to perform gives you some numbers you can work with. I honestly think it could be worse though.”
It will be interesting to see in the following 12-24 months where shares of Corus Bank will be given the large amount of money that they loaned to Miami and Miami Beach developers. The following is a list of the Miami and Miami Beach condo developments that they loaned money to, as well as the amount of each loan:
- Artecity – $60,300,000
- Caribbean Miami Beach – $124,700,000
- Continuum South Beach North Tower – $135,000,000
- Infinity at Brickell – $140,300,000
- Ivy at Riverfront – $130,400,000
- Jade Ocean – $288,115,000
- Marina Blue – $110,000,000
- Mint at Riverfront – $191,800,000
- Onyx on the Bay – $44,100,000
- Paramount Bay – $216,000,000
- Quantum on the Bay – $145,000,000