The Globe and Mail reports in its Monday, Sept. 25, edition that Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT on Friday cut its dividend from 80 cents to 36 cents annually. The Globe's Andrew Willis writes that Northwest said it made the move as part of a strategy to pay down its $3.7-billion debt, a third of which is at floating rates. So far this year, the price of Northwest units has fallen by 36 per cent. Northwest also announced that its management and financial advisers, including Scotiabank, RBC Capital Markets and Deutsche Bank Securities, are now working on transactions involving the sale of properties in northwestern U.S. and Brazil. The REIT has 25 buildings in the former country and eight hospitals in the latter. Prior to last week's distribution cut, Northwest paid out about 130 per cent of its cash flow as dividends, according to a report in August by RBC Capital Markets analyst Pammi Bir. He predicted the payout to investors would fall by at least 50 per cent. Mr. Bir expects the REIT to take further steps to raise capital and "additional asset sales will likely also form part of the conversation, in our view, particularly as Northwest works to bring in investment partners in the U.S. and U.K."
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