Israeli mall operator Azrieli Q2 profit jumps

Buses travel past Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, Israel June 18, 2020. Picture taken June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Azrieli Group (AZRG.TA), one of Israel's largest shopping mall operators, reported a more than doubling of second-quarter profit, citing a steep appreciation in investment property due to a rise in inflation.

Azrieli said on Wednesday it earned 803 million shekels ($247 million) in the quarter, up from 383 million a year ago.

In the April-June period, net operating income (NOI) rose 16% to 473 million shekels from a year earlier, boosted by its acquisition of Norwegian data centres firm Green Mountain AS.

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Azrieli in July 2021 agreed to buy 100% of Green Mountain -- which operates server farms -- for 7.6 billion Norwegian Krone, or 2.8 billion shekels ($860 million).

"We are continuing the accelerated development of the data centers segment," said Chief Executive Eyal Henkin. "This segment's contribution to the results is expected to be expressed upon completion of the many projects under development."

Same property NOI increased by about 11%, while funds from operations dipped to 331 million shekels from 371 million.

Azrieli said it invested during the quarter about 284 million shekels in investment property, in the acquisition, development, construction of new properties and the upgrade of preexisting properties.

It noted that its average occupancy rate was 99% for shopping malls, 97% for office space and 99% for its senior housing facilities.

($1 = 3.2543 shekels)

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Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by David Evans

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