General Growth 4th-quarter profit improves

General Growth Properties key measure of profitability improves in 4th quarter

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mall operator General Growth Properties Inc. said that a key measure of profitability improved in its fourth quarter, bolstered by more rental income and lower expenses.

The real estate investment trust said late Monday funds from operations, or FFO, rose to $311.9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with FFO of $252.9 million, or 26 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted FFO of 29 cents per share.

FFO is considered a key financial measure for REITs. It adds back such items as amortization and depreciation to net income.

Net income totaled $32.2 million, or 4 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $367.8 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total expenses fell to $421.7 million from $458.1 million.

Revenue increased 5 percent to $675.7 million from $644 million.

Revenue from minimum rents increased to $417.9 million from $396.2 million.

General Growth's full-year FFO climbed to $993.9 million, or 99 cents per share, from $874.4 million, or 88 cents per share, in the previous year.

The company's loss widened to $481.2 million or 52 cents per share, from a loss of $313.2 million, or 33 cents per share, in the prior year.

Annual revenue rose 3 percent to $2.51 billion from $2.44 billion.

Going forward, the Chicago company expects 2013 FFO of $1.08 to $1.12 per share and first-quarter FFO of 24 cents to 26 cents per share.

Analysts expect full-year FFO of $1.08 per share and first-quarter FFO of 24 cents per share.

General Growth also declared a first-quarter dividend of 12 cents per share, up 1 cent from the previous quarter. The dividend will be paid on April 30 to shareholders of record on April 16.

The company's stock added 35 cents to $20.33 in afternoon trading Tuesday.

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