published Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

CBL posts increased profits for quarter, year

CBL Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz stands in his office overlooking Hamilton Place Mall
CBL Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz stands in his office overlooking Hamilton Place Mall
Chad McClure

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. provided 2013 FFO guidance of $2.18 to $2.26 per share.

Shopping center operator CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Tuesday posted increased profit for the quarter and year as rents and occupancy improved in 2012.

"We continue to enjoy the benefits of our market-dominant mall portfolio," said Stephen Lebovitz, the company's chief executive, in a statement.

Funds from operations, as adjusted for acquisitions, rose in the fourth quarter to 62 cents per share from 60 cents per share year ago. CBL, which owns or manages 163 properties nationally including Hamilton Place mall and Northgate Mall in Chattanooga, grew same-center net operating income by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, excluding lease termination fees.

Michael Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers, said that in the face of online competition and closings among some retailers, CBL and other like businesses need to know their markets and options.

He said, for example, that businesses offering services are increasing options for companies such as CBL.

"What you'll ultimately see is more hybrid retail centers," Niemira said, adding that 70 percent of consumer spending is in services.

Lebovitz noted that CBL invested $96.1 million in December 2012 to grow its portfolio by acquiring interests in two regional malls, Kirkwood Valley in Bismark, N.D., and Imperial Valley Mall in El Centro, Calif.

He said the company has "an expanding pipeline of new growth opportunities...."

CBL's results topped the consensus analyst estimate for the quarter, 58 cents per share, and for the year of $2.12 per share.

For all of 2012, adjusted FFO climbed 5.9 percent to $2.17 per share versus $2.05 a year ago. Occupancy grew to 94.6 percent from 93.6 percent in the prior year, CBL reported.

Average gross rent per square foot for stabilized mall leases signed in 2012 was 8.4 percent higher.

The company's stock closed Tuesday at $21.95 per share, up 10 cents, or 0.46 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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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