UPDATE 1-CBRE quarterly profit jumps 22 pct, trounces forecasts

Wed Feb 6, 2013 4:36pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 6 (Reuters) - CBRE Group Inc, one of the world's largest commercial real estate services providers, said fourth-quarter earnings surged 22 percent, far surpassing Wall Street's forecast, with strong sales in all regions, particularly the Americas.

Excluding charges primarily related to acquisitions, profit jumped to $181.9 million, or 55 cents per share, from $149.3 million, or 46 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter, CBRE reported on Wednesday.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $2.0 billion.

Analysts on average had forecast 49 cents per share on revenue of $1.87 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. In after-hours trade, the company's shares jumped 3 percent from their closing level on the New York Stock Exchange.

"Following a sluggish third quarter, activity globally improved across all business lines in the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Officer Robert Sulentic said in a statement. "This continues a pattern of fluctuating market sentiment that has prevailed throughout the slow-paced recovery."

Including charges, the company reported net income of $173.0 million, or 53 cents per share, up from $79.8 million, or 25 cents, in the fourth quarter 2011.

CBRE's property sales and commercial mortgage brokerage were top performers in the fourth quarter, during which global property sales revenue rose 22 percent. Sales activity was especially strong in the Americas, up 32 percent. Despite Europe's weakening economic growth and continued financial stresses, property sales in region, which includes the Middle East and Africa rose 13 percent, with the UK leading the way.

Revenue generated by commercial mortgage brokerage, predominantly a U.S. business, grew 38 percent in the quarter.

The company also manages the real estate needs for large global corporations, provides leasing services and operates a real estate investment subsidiary.

For 2013, CBRE sees earnings per share, excluding items charges, in the range of $1.40 to $1.45 per share. Analysts on average forecast $1.36 per share.

The company said it expects the Americas to remain the biggest near-term catalyst for it growth but also anticipates benefiting from recent strength in China and the easing of credit-market tensions in Europe.

"However, fiscal and economic uncertainties remain high, particularly in Europe, and the overall pace of the recovery continues to be sub par," Sulentic said.

CBRE shares closed at $21.84, down 7 cents, or 0.3 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares rose to $22.55 after hours.

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