| NEW YORK
NEW YORK General Growth Properties Inc (GGP.N) said on Monday it had a 17 percent increase in a key measure of quarterly profit, beating Wall Street expectations, and said it had reached an agreement to sell its stake in a Brazilian shopping center company.
General Growth posted second-quarter funds from operations (FFO) of $267 million, or 27 cents per share, compared with $228 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts on average expected FFO of 25 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and the company had forecast 24 cents to 26 cents per share.
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.
The company also said it agreed to sell its stake in Brazilian shopping center owner Aliansce Shopping Centers SA (ALSC3.SA) to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Rique Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda for about $690 million. The deals are expected to close in the third quarter.
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 second quarter with 123 U.S. malls, down from more than 200 properties in 2010. It has pared its portfolio to its best producing malls, lifting its average rent and sales per square foot.
During the quarter, General Growth sold a 49.9 interest in both The Grand Canal Shoppes and The Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas and disposed of a strip center.
General Growth also raised its dividend for the third quarter by 1 cent to 13 cents a share, payable on Oct 29 to stockholders of record on Oct 15.
General Growth raised the lower end of its full-year FFO outlook to $1.13 to $1.15 per share from a prior forecast of $1.11 to $1.15 per share. Analysts have forecast $1.11 per share.
The company sees third-quarter FFO in the range of 26 cents to 28 cents per share, compared with Wall Street's view of 27 cents per share.
(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Ken Wills)