Simon Property 4Q Profit Climbs on Improved Occupancy

Helped by higher occupancy, sales and rent, Simon Property (NYSE: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%.

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.

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.