Simon profit jumps on improving occupancy, rents

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group on Wednesday morning said its second-quarter profit jumped by 20 percent on rising occupancy and rents.

The country’s largest shopping mall owner reported profit of $406.6 million, or $1.31 per share, compared with $339.9 million, or $1.10 per share, in the same period of 2013.

Funds from operations, a measurement of a real estate investment trust’s ability to generate cash, rose to $783.8 million, or $2.16 per share, compared with $766.3 million, or $2.11 per share.

Simon’s FFO beat analysts' per-share estimates by a penny and included costs related to its spinoff in May of Washington Prime Group.

Quarterly revenue rose 9 percent, to nearly $1.2 billion.

Occupancy in its malls climbed to 96.5 percent in May, up from 95.1 percent a year ago. Total sales per square foot increased from $577 to $608. Average rents also grew, to $45.83 per square foot, up from $41.41 a year ago.

Simon raised its FFO guidance by 5 cents, to a range of $9.01 to $9.11 per share for the year ending Dec. 31. It also increased its guidance on profit for the year to a range of $4.61 to $4.71 per share.

The company also declared a $1.30 per share dividend, a 13-percent increase from the same quarter last year.

Simon shares were set to open trading at $171.33 each, near their 52-week high of $172.01.

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