published Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

CBL quarterly earnings up on better leasing, sales

CBL OUTLOOK

CBL reiterated its FFO guidance for 2011 of $2.07 to $2.12 per share, which assumes the joint venture with TIAA-CREF closes during the third quarter.

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Tuesday posted higher second-quarter earnings on better leasing and same store sales in its malls and shopping centers.

"We are gaining greater traction on the leasing front with improved leasing spreads, occupancy and year-over-year growth," said Stephen Lebovitz, chief executive for the Chattanooga-based shopping center developer.

Despite sluggish economic growth in the second quarter, CBL said funds from operations rose to 49 cents per share per diluted share, up from 36 cents per share a year ago. That beat the consensus analyst estimate of 46 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Net income for the quarter was $9.7 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $7.2 million, or a loss of 5 cents per share last year.

CBL said its same-store sales per square foot for mall tenants 10,000 square feet or less increased 5.4 percent in the quarter.

CBL revenues came in at $263 million in the quarter. That also beat the analyst estimate of $261.1 million.

"We think things are turning the corner," said Katie Reinsmidt, CBL's vice president of corporate communications and investor relations.

Analyst Ross Smotrich of Barclays Capital said in a research note that a CBL joint venture could be a bidder for 17 malls offered by Westfield. The portfolio is reported on Westfield's books as being worth more than $2.5 billion in asset value and "a clear test on the demand for regional malls," according to Smotrich.

Earlier in the second quarter, CBL announced a $1.1 billion joint venture with investment entity TIAA-CREF aimed at creating an avenue for future growth and reducing debt by $480 million.

Ahead of the earnings report, CBL's stock slumped by more than 6.6 percent, or $1.17 per share, to close Tuesday at $16.48 per share, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors pushed the overall market down for a seventh consecutive day on Tuesday amid fears of a slower-than-expected recovery.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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