Simon Property quarter buoyed by increased rents

, The Associated Press

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Simon Property's Lenox Square

Shopping mall operator Simon Property Group said Monday that a key measure of profitability climbed in its fourth quarter as occupancy improved and rents increased.

The company said Monday that its funds from operations, or FFO, rose to $827.4 million, or $2.29 per share. That compares with $678.9 million, or $1.91 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected FFO of $2.17 per share.

FFO adds items like amortization and depreciation back to net income and is considered a key to understanding the ongoing business of a real estate investment trust like Simon.

Minimum rent per square foot climbed 3.4 percent to $40.73, while occupancy rose to 95.3 percent from 94.6 percent.

Net income fell 13 percent to $315.4 million, or $1.01 per share, from $362.9 million, or $1.24 per share, in the prior year.

Wall Street forecast $1.04 per share.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 increased 15 percent to $1.34 billion from $1.17 billion. Analysts expected $1.32 billion.

Simon Property Group Inc. said Monday that its full-year FFO increased to $2.89 billion, or $7.98 per share. In the prior year the Indianapolis company reported FFO of $2.44 billion, or $6.89 per share.

Net income rose 40 percent to $1.43 billion, or $4.72 per share, from $1.02 billion, or $3.48 per share, in the previous year.

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