RioCan REIT posts 16 percent rise in funds from operations

Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:24pm EST

* Earnings miss expectations by a penny a unit

* Acquisitions, fees boost results

* Units rise slightly in Toronto

TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Funds from operations (FFO) rose 16 percent at RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust in the fourth quarter, Canada's largest retail landlord said on Thursday, boosted by property acquisitions and lease cancellation fees.

FFO rose to C$116 million ($116 million), or 39 Canadian cents a unit, at the shopping mall owner from C$100 million, or 36 Canadian cents a unit, in the same quarter of 2011.

Analysts had expected FFO of 40 Canadian cents a unit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Investors tend to focus on FFO as a measure of the financial health of REITs rather than net income, which can be volatile due to property sales and debt restructurings.

The company's units, which have risen a modest 3.6 percent over the past year, were up 23 Canadian cents at C$27.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at midday on Wednesday.

RioCan counts among its tenants Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Canadian Tire Corp Ltd, Loblaw Cos Ltd and Target Corp.

The company said it acquired interests in 31 income properties in Canada and the United States during the quarter, adding 2 million square feet of retail space to its portfolio. For the year, it bought interests in 43 properties, adding 3.5 million square feet.

Lease cancellation fees added C$4 million to the company's results.

Overall occupancy was 97.4 percent at Dec 31, down slightly from 97.6 percent at Dec 31, 2011.

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