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W. P. Carey has been a leader in the sale-leaseback and net-lease space for more than four decades. In 1998, we became a publicly traded company and in 2012 we became a REIT. Our balanced outlook and steady focus on long-term net leases with built-in rent increases to creditworthy tenants has enabled us to succeed through market cycles, while delivering consistent and rising dividend income to investors.
Our corporate finance-focused credit and real estate underwriting process is a constant that has been successfully leveraged across a wide variety of industries and property types. Our U.S. and European asset management teams continuously evaluate our owned real estate portfolio and individual markets to proactively identify opportunities to enhance the value of our existing properties and improve the overall quality of the portfolio.
W. P. Carey ranks among the largest net lease REITs with an enterprise value of approximately $17 billion and a diversified portfolio of operationally-critical commercial real estate that includes 1,163 net lease properties covering approximately 131 million square as of December 31, 2018. For over four decades, we have invested in high-quality single-tenant industrial, warehouse, office and retail properties subject to long-term leases with built-in rent escalators. Our portfolio is located primarily in the U.S. and Northern and Western Europe and is well-diversified by tenant, property type, geographic location and tenant industry.