Simon posts strong quarter on higher mall occupancy

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. on Tuesday morning reported a 16.1-percent increase in first-quarter funds from operations as demand for retail space in outlet centers climbed.

FFO, which gauges a real estate investment trust's ability to generate cash, rose to $865.3 million, or $2.38 per share, up from $741.9 million, or $2.05 per share, in the same period a year ago, the Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust said.

The per-share FFO figure beat analyst estimates by 14 cents.

Profit increased to $341.6 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with $283.1 million, or 91 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

Quarterly revenue rose 8 percent, to $1.3 billion.

Simon, the largest mall owner in the country, declared a $1.30 per share dividend, up from $1.25 the previous quarter and 13 percent more than a year ago.

Occupancy in its malls climbed to 95.5 percent in March, up from 94.7 percent a year ago. Total sales per square foot increased slightly, from $575 to $576. Rents also grew, to $42.77 per square foot, up from $41.05 a year ago.

“We are off to an outstanding start in 2014, reporting strong financial and operating results led by a 16.1-percent growth in FFO per diluted share," Simon CEO David Simon said in a prepared statement. “We are increasing our full-year 2014 guidance and raising our dividend due to our strong first quarter performance and expectations for continued growth."

Simon increased its FFO guidance by 10 cents, to a range of $9.60 to $9.70 per diluted share for the year ending Dec. 31, and net income to a range of $4.55 to $4.65 per diluted share.

 

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