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General Growth Q4 FFO Rises; Guides Q1, 2013 In Line

REIT General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP) reported Monday that funds from operations or FFO for the fourth quarter increased from last year, reflecting improved revenues amid higher tenant sales and regional mall occupancy. FFO per share and quarterly revenues came in above analysts' expectations. The company also provided FFO guidance for the first quarter and full-year 2013, in line with Street view.

The Chicago, Illinois-based second-largest U.S. mall owner reported FFO of $312 million or $0.31 per share for the fourth quarter, higher than $253 million or $0.26 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 13 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.29 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net income for the quarter was $32 million or $0.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $368 million or $0.39 per share in the comparable quarter a year ago. Loss from continuing operations was $25 million or $0.03 per share, sharply narrower than $287 million or $0.30 per share in the prior-year quarter.

The company noted that non-cash accounting adjustment for outstanding warrants reduced income from continuing operations for the latest quarter by $89 million, compared to $264 million in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenues for the quarter grew to $675.71 million from $643.99 million in the same quarter last year. Five Wall Street analysts' had a consensus revenue estimate of $669.85 million for the quarter.

Net operating income for the mall portfolio or Mall NOI, increased 6.5 percent to $585 million from $549 million in the prior-year quarter.

Tenant sales on a trailing 12 month basis increased 6.6 percent to $545 per square foot from the same quarter last year. U.S. regional mall occupancy grew 60 basis points to 96.1 percent from last year.

Operating income for the quarter increased to $254 million from $186 million in the prior-year quarter. Meanwhile, total expenses decreased to $422 million from $458 million in the same period last year.

Further, the company's board of directors declared a first quarter common stock dividend of $0.12 per share, payable on April 30 to stockholders of record on April 16, 2013, representing an increase of $0.01 per share from the prior quarter.

For fiscal 2012, the company reported FFO of $994 million or $0.99 per share, higher than $874 million or $0.88 per share in the year ago. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.97 per share for the year.

Net loss for the year was $481 million or $0.52 per share, wider than $313 million or $0.37 per share in the prior year.

Total revenues for the full year grew to $2.51 billion from $2.44 million in the previous year. Street was looking for full-year 2012 revenues of $2.49 billion.

Looking ahead to the first quarter, the company expects FFO in a range of $0.24 to $0.26 per share, with analysts expect earnings of $0.24 per share.

For fiscal 2013, GGP anticipates FFO in the range of $1.08 to $1.12 per share, while Street is currently looking for earnings of $1.08 per share.

GGP closed Monday's regular trading session at $19.98, unchanged on a volume of 3.69 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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