Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG) revealed a 66% leap in fourth-quarter profits on Friday as the mall owner capitalized on higher rents and occupancy rates.
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Indianapolis-based Simon said it earned $363.8 million, or $1.24 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $218.8 million, or 74 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of just 90 cents.
Revenue rose 4.6% to $1.17 billion, essentially matching the Street’s view of $1.16 billion.
Simon Property, which owns 392 retail real estate properties, including a slew of malls, benefited from higher rents and occupancies. The company said occupancy at U.S. regional malls and premium outlets climbed to 94.8% from 94.5% the year before, while the average rent jumped 4.4% year-over-year.
“Our portfolio of high quality assets continues to demonstrate strength as our regional malls and Premium Outlets generated comparable property net operating income growth of 4.5% in the quarter," CEO David Simon said in a statement.
The stronger-than-expected results led Simon to up its quarterly dividend by 5.6% to 95 cents a share from 90 cents.