Simon Property Group posts sharp earnings jump in 4th quarter

Lindale Mall, other properties seeing rise in sales, occupancy

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Simon Property Group, owner and manager of Lindale Mall in northeast Cedar Rapids, on Monday reported a sharp increase in a key earnings measure for the fourth quarter of 2013 as rents and sales rose at its malls and outlet centers.

Indianapolis-based Simon, the largest mall and outlet center owner in the United States, said fourth-quarter funds from operations increased 21.9 percent to $827.4 million, or $2.29 per share, from $678.9 million, or $1.91 per share, in the final quarter of 2012.

Wall Street analysts on average had expected funds from operations of $2.17 a share.

Funds from operations, a performance measure for real estate investment trusts, usually excludes gains or losses from property sales and removes the impact of depreciation has on earnings.

Simon's fourth-quarter revenue rose to $1.34 billion from $1.17 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Analysts on average were expecting $1.3 billion.

Occupancy at Simon's malls and outlet centers rose to 95.3 percent from 94.6 percent a year earlier, and the company was able to increase average base rent 3.4 percent to $40.73 per square foot. Sales at tenants' stores in Simon's malls and outlet centers rose 6.6 percent on a trailing 12-month basis to $568 per square foot.

Simon forecast full-year funds from operations, excluding one-time items, at $8.40 to $8.50 per share. Analysts are expecting $8.41 per share for the year.

Simon has international outlet centers in Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Europe. It is redeveloping or expanding 25 properties in the U.S. and two in Japan.

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