published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

CBL raises outlook over renting gains

Shopping center developer CBL & Associates Properties Inc. raised its outlook for the rest of the year on sustained improvement in leasing spreads and occupancy.

"While we have concerns regarding the broader macroeconomic trends, the sustained improvement in leasing spreads and occupancy confirms our positive outlook and provides the confidence for our raising guidance for the year," said Stephen Lebovitz, the Chattanooga-based company's chief executive officer.

CBL shares closed Tuesday at $14.71, down 4.3 percent, 67 cents per share, on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company hiked 2011 funds from operations guidance to $2.12 to $2.15 per share, which excludes the impact of non-cash impairment charges, net of taxes, and includes gain from repaid debt.

CBL reported after the stock market's close that third-quarter FFO rose 2.1 percent from the year-ago level to $91.1 million, or 48 cents per share.

The consensus estimate of analysts had been that CBL's FFO would total 46 cents per share in the third quarter.

Same-center net operating income improved 4.2 percent for the mall portfolio for the quarter over a year ago, excluding lease termination fees.

After reflecting the drop in the value of some of its real estate holdings in the third quarter, CBL reported a net loss of $27.3 million, or 18 cents per share. That's compared with net income of $9.58 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago.

Net income for the nine months ended Sept. 30 was $19.1 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with $13.2 million, or 10 cents a share, a year ago.

CBL said that average gross rent on leases signed for tenants 10,000 square feet or less increased 8.2 percent over the prior gross rent per square foot in the quarter.

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