Simon Property 4Q Profit Climbs on Improved Occupancy

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Helped by higher occupancy, sales and rent, Simon Property (SPG) said Friday that its net profit more than doubled in the fourth quarter, though the results fell below Wall Street estimates, pushing its shares down about 1%.

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The Indianapolis-based company posted net income of $217.9 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $91.5 million, or 32 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding special items, the company earned $1.66 a share, short of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $1.74.

Revenue for the real estate investment trust, which operates regional malls and premium outlets, was $1.12 billion, up from $1.03 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $1.03 billion.

"We delivered impressive results in an improving, but still challenging environment," said David Simon, the company’s chief executive.

The company attributed the results to 3.4% operating income growth in its regional mall and premium outlet portfolio, as occupancy and sales continued to rebound.

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Simon’s board declared on Friday a quarterly dividend of 80 cents a share, payable on Feb. 28 to shareholders of record on Feb. 14.

The company sees 2011 earnings in the range of $2.55 to $2.70 a share. It anticipates funds from operations, typically used by analysts for comparisons, between $6.45 and $6.60 a share.