Thank you, Pablo and good morning to everyone.
We are very pleased with our strong third quarter financial results, which were driven by continued positive trends across our diversified business units.
While we expect continued growth, we are keeping our financial guidance for the fourth quarter unchanged at this time.
During the third quarter, we had a significant level of startup activity, which we expect will drive future cash flow growth.
Importantly, these startup projects involved the reactivation of previously-idle facilities totaling 4,600 beds.
In September, we completed the reactivation of our company-owned 1,000-bed South Louisiana ICE processing center. And October 1, we activated our company-owned 1,800-bed North Lake Michigan correctional facility and the county-owned 1,800-bed Reeves County, Texas detention complex 1 and 2. Both of these facilities are fixed-price for the full 10-year contract term with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Internationally, we are in the process of completing negotiations and construction respectively on two expansion projects in Australia and at our Ravenhall and Junee correctional centers totaling approximately 800 combined beds. In the UK, we are pleased to have been awarded a 10-year contract for the continued delivery of secure transportation services under our GEOAmey joint venture known as the PECS contract.
We have provided secure transportation services under the PECS contract through our GeoAmey joint venture since 2011.
We are proud to have been awarded this new 10-year contract to deliver high-quality services involving 1,400 professional staff, 250 specialist vehicles and 10 transportation hubs.
With respect to recent procurement activity in the U.S. both ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service have issued solicitations in California. The U.S. Marshals expects to award a management contract for the government-owned 512-bed El Centro, California facility before the end of the year.
And under a procurement issued last month ICE expects to award a minimum of approximately 6,750 beds in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco areas at existing facilities.
This procurement is expected to result in new long-term contracts starting in mid-December of this year. It involves a re-bid of existing contracts at our Adelanto and Mesa Verde/ICE processing centers as well as other contractor-operated facilities in California.
It also allows for other existing facilities to be proposed in those three areas of the state.
As has been widely-reported in the media, the state of California recently enacted legislation aimed at phasing out, public-private, partnership contracts for the operation of state correctional facilities and federal facilities.
As we have previously announced, our contract for our Central Valley facility was already discontinued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the end of September.
And we expect that our California corrections contract for the Desert View facility to be discontinued by April 1, 2020, followed by the Golden State facility contract being discontinued by, July 1 2020.
All of our ICE proposals have been submitted. And we are now awaiting, ICE's review and award decisions. We recognize that media coverage of overcrowded border patrol facilities. And the announcement by a handful of our financial institutions discontinuing future financing has caused volatility in our equity and debt markets.
Unfortunately, this volatility has been driven by a false narrative and deliberate mischaracterization of our long-standing role, as a quality service provider to ICE.
As we have said repeatedly, we do not manage any facilities that house unaccompanied, minors nor any Border Patrol holding facilities.
The residential centers we manage on behalf of ICE are highly-rated by national accreditation organizations and provide high-quality, culturally-responsive services in a safe and humane environment.
GEO's typical ICE processing center amenities include flat screen TVs, in the housing areas comprised of either dormitory or a combination of cellular units with multipurpose rooms outdoor covered pavilions, and artificial turf soccer fields.
The residents are provided with hot meals clothing, 24/7 access to healthcare services and full access to telephones and legal services. Healthcare staffing at our ICE processing centers is approximately 100%, more than that of our state correctional facilities.
The additional healthcare staffing is needed to provide appropriate treatment for individuals who have numerous health and mental health needs, due to arriving from countries with limited access to healthcare services.
We have been successful in providing these professional services, for 30 years under the Democratic and Republican administrations. We provide the same exact services at our facilities today, that we have provided for eight years under President Obama's administration.
We are proud to have published our first-ever Human Rights and ESG report, at the end of September. The report builds on our global human rights policy adopted by our board in 2013.
It provides disclosures on how we inform our employees, our longstanding commitment to respecting human rights. The criteria we use to assess human rights performance. And our contract compliance program, remedies and third-party verification of our performance.
The 77-page report also addresses criteria based on recognized ESG reporting standards related to the development of our diverse workforce, our efforts to advance environmental sustainability in our facilities and ethical governance practices.
Our ESG report further highlights, the continued expansion of our GEO Continuum of Care or CoC program, which was first piloted in 2015.
Our CoC program integrates offender rehabilitation, including cognitive behavioral treatment with post-release support services to address basic community needs of released individuals. This year the CoC program has been implemented at 18 state correctional facilities and two federal facilities managed by GEO.
We are proud to have taken our place as world leader in offender rehabilitation and of our company's $10 million funding commitment to the CoC program, representing 7% of our company's net income.
The GEO continuum of care is our company's contribution to criminal justice reform in assisting some of the 2.2 million people still incarcerated.
We are expanding our role as vocal advocates for increased funding and improved rehabilitation programs that will help individuals re-enter society as productive citizens. We applaud the new efforts in prison sentencing reform made possible by the First Step Act resulting in approximately 6,000 people released.
But we want to draw people's attention to the 2.2 million individuals who still remain incarcerated and have little or no access to rehabilitation programs. We hope we are setting an example as to how more can and should be done. There has been a significant amount of misinformation regarding our banking partners and access to capital.
We are pleased to have successfully extended the maturity on our senior revolving credit facility to May, 2024 without any change in terms.
Our shareholders should take comfort in knowing that we continue to have strong banking relationships with several dozens of lenders and financial institutions in our senior credit facility.
Additionally, we continue to talk to new lenders who have expressed interest in establishing a lending relationship with us. And we do not have any debt maturities due until 2022. And as we discussed during our last earnings call, we expect to apply our excess cash flow to paying down debt.
During the quarter we repurchased approximately $34 million of our 2022 senior notes in the open market.
We also closed on a $44 million, 15-year real estate loan bearing an interest rate of 4.2% annually. We believe that our growing earnings and cash flows will allow us to deleverage, while providing support for our annual dividend payments which we expect to remain unchanged. We believe that our strong quarterly financial results several new project openings and new procurement activity are indicative of the stability of our cash flows and the sustainability of our dividend payments.
I will now ask Brian Evans to review our financial results outlook and liquidity position.