Simon Property Group Inc reported a 21.9 percent increase in a key earnings measure in the fourth quarter, helped by higher rents and sales at its malls and outlet centers, easily beating estimates.

The company also raised its dividend for the sixth straight quarter.

Simon said fourth-quarter funds from operations (FFO) increased to $827.4 million, or $2.29 per share, from $678.9 million, or $1.91 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.34 billion from $1.17 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected FFO of $2.17 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

FFO is a REIT performance measure that usually excludes gains or losses from property sales and removes the effect that depreciation has on earnings. The company, the No. 1 U.S. mall and outlet center owner, also raised its quarterly dividend to $1.15 per share from $1.10 per share. The dividend is payable Feb. 28 to shareholders of record on Feb. 14.