Duke sustains profits, stops new development

Duke Realty Corp. generated 66 cents per share in funds from operations in the third quarter, a decline of two pennies from the same period last year, the Indianapolis real estate company reported late yesterday.

Funds from operations are a common measure of financial performance for real estate investment trusts like Duke.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected 64 cents per share.

CEO Denny Oklak said he is happy with the performance considering the “challenging economic environment.” Duke has all but stopped further development until conditions improve, and instead is focusing on increasing liquidity and strengthening its balance sheet, he said.

Occupancy rates of the companies’ existing buildings edged up to 93.8 percent from 93.1 percent from June.

Capital markets are so uncertain that Duke said it would not offer earnings guidance for next year.

However, it forecast funds from operations of $2.45 to $2.55 per share for 2008. That’s below the $2.57 anticipated by analysts.

Duke shares rose 13 cents this morning to $12.03 each. The stock has lost half its value this month after having held its ground through much of the year.

Duke stock had been one of the state’s most consistent performers, rising steadily from the early 1990s until peaking at $46.93 in February 2007.

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