NEW YORK Feb 4 General Growth Properties Inc
on Monday said a key measure of earnings rose 23.3
percent in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street's forecast
and helped by greater occupancy and sales at its malls.
The company said fourth-quarter funds from operations (FFO)
increased to $312 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with
$253 million, or 26 cents per share, in the year-earlier
Analysts on average had expected the company to post
fourth-quarter FFO of 29 cents per share, according to Thomson
FFO is a real estate investment trust performance measure
that usually excludes gains or losses from property sales and
removes the effect of depreciation on earnings.
Since emerging from bankruptcy at the end of 2010, General
Growth has culled its portfolio of properties down to its most
productive malls. It ended the fourth quarter with 125 U.S.
malls and 18 in Brazil, down from more than 200 properties in
During the quarter, William Ackman, head of hedge fund
Pershing Square Capital Management, one of the top investors in
the Chicago-based company, had urged the company to sell itself
to Simon Property Group Inc, the No. 1 U.S. mall owner.
A deal never materialized.
Ackman retreated last month after Brookfield Asset
Management Inc which owns more than 40 percent of
General Growth's shares, agreed to buy the General Growth
warrants Pershing Square held.
Sales at stores its tenants' have operated at least a year
rose 6.6 percent to an annual $545 per square foot on a trailing
General Growth's U.S. mall portfolio was 96.1 percent leased
at the end of the quarter, up 0.60 percentage points from a year
earlier. The average base rent for new leases in 2012 rose 10.2
percent to $61.84 per square foot compared with expiring leases.
Earlier Monday, Simon reported fourth-quarter FFO that beat
Wall Street's forecast, and said sales at its tenants' store
also rose 6.6 percent to $568 per square foot.
For the full-year 2013, General Growth said it sees FFO in
the range of $1.08 per share to $1.12 per share. Analysts had
forecast $1.08 per share. The company sees first-quarter FFO in
the range of 24 cents to 26 cents per share, compared with Wall
Street's view of 24 cents per share.
General Growth shares were flat Monday, closing at $19.98 on
the New York Stock Exchange and rose to $20.05 after hours.
The company is scheduled to hold a conference call with
analysts on Tuesday morning.