If you read our lead story in the April issue of The SeniorCare Investor, you may have thought it couldn’t get much worse for Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH) and its tenant Five Star Senior Living (FVE). And then on Thursday, SNH officially dropped its quarterly dividend by 61.5% from $0.39 to just $0.15 per share, with a forward yield of 7.43%. The company had previously mentioned that they would lower its annual dividend to between $0.55 and $0.65 (and deciding on $0.60), but if a dividend decline is bad on its own, it’s even worse for SNH whose high, double-digit yield was probably its best asset in the eyes of its shareholders.
Now, SNH’s yield still ranks higher than a number of REITs like CareTrust REIT, Ventas and National Health Investors, but falls behind that of Sabra Health Care REIT and New Senior Investment Group. We’ll wait and see how the REIT’s restructuring with FVE goes as it essentially assumes control of the company, but since that announcement on April 2, SNH’s share price has fallen over 32% to hover around $8.00 per share. So, diminished dividend and a declining share price…not a good combination.