Highlight of Business Operations:Cash distributions to shareholders and holders of limited partnership units. One of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for a REIT is that it distribute 90% of its net taxable income, excluding net capital gains, to its shareholders. There is a separate requirement to distribute net capital gains or pay a corporate level tax in lieu thereof. Our general policy has been to make cash distributions to our common shareholders and the holders of limited partnership units of approximately 65.0% to 90.0% of our funds from operations and to use the remaining funds for capital improvements or the purchase of additional properties. This policy may be changed at any time by our Board of Trustees without notice to, or approval of, our shareholders. Cash distributions to our common shareholders and unitholders in fiscal year 2010 totaled approximately 99.2% on a per share and unit basis of our funds from operations. Absent continued growth in revenue, and in the event that we continue to experience deterioration in our operating results, we may be unable to maintain our distribution at current levels. We have maintained or increased our cash distributions every year since our inception 40 years ago.
Borrowing money. We rely on borrowed funds in pursuing our investment objectives and goals. It is generally our policy to seek to borrow up to 65.0% to 75.0% of the appraised value of all new real estate acquired or developed. This policy concerning borrowed funds is vested solely with our Board of Trustees and can be changed by our Board of Trustees at any time, or from time to time, without notice to, or a vote of, our shareholders. Such policy is subject, however, to the limitation in our Bylaws, which provides that unless approved by a majority of the independent members of our Board of Trustees and disclosed to our shareholders in our next quarterly report along with justification for such excess, we may not borrow in excess of 300.0% of our total Net Assets (as such term is used in our Bylaws, which usage is not in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), “Net Assets” means our total assets at cost before deducting depreciation or other non-cash reserves, less total liabilities). Our Bylaws do not impose any limitation on the amount that we may borrow against any one particular property. As of April 30, 2010, our ratio of total real estate mortgages to total real estate assets was 70.5% while our ratio of total indebtedness as compared to our Net Assets (computed in accordance with our Bylaws) was 122.9%.
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