(Adds details, CEO comment)
By Maya Nikolaeva
PARIS Feb 3 Klepierre posted a 2.2 percent rise in 2013 gross like-for-like rental income from retail property on Monday that beat its own forecast, helped by relets in France, Belgium and Scandinavia.
The French real-estate group co-owned by Simon Property and BNP Paribas added that it had made disposals worth 1.3 billion euros ($1.76 billion), exceeding its 1 billion goal for 2012-2013.
Klepierre, which has been focusing on large retail properties that offer higher returns, said net lease income from retail property rose 3 percent like-for-like to 882 million euros and forecast further growth this year.
Klepierre is selling some of its shopping centres and offices while refurbishing and extending other assets to keep rental profits up and drive footfall higher.
Chief Executive Laurent Morel said Klepierre would "benefit from further significant deleveraging", enabling it to "seize future growth opportunities" including acquisitions.
The company recently agreed to sell Carrefour a portfolio of 127 malls in which the retailer already has stores, while Klepierre concentrates on larger shopping centres in more densely populated areas.
Klepierre said 2014 net current cash flow would be at least 2 euros a share, after rising 3.8 percent to 2.07 euros in 2013, ahead of its target of at least 3 percent.
But the group said it would update the forecast following the closing of the Carrefour deal, expected in the second quarter.
The transaction would cut the company's exposure to Spain and Portugal to 5 percent of its portfolio from 9 percent, Klepierre Deputy CEO Jean-Michel Gault said.
Klepierre will remain most exposed to France and Scandinavia, accounting for 44 and 31 percent of its portfolio respectively.
Gross like-for-like rental income from retail property, which rose to 987 million euros last year, had been expected to rise 2 percent. ($1 = 0.7397 euros) (Editing by Lionel Laurent and James Regan)