UPDATE 3-Simon Property FFO rises, tops expectations

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:25pm EDT
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* Raises funds from operations, or FFO, outlook for 2012

* Q3 FF0 $1.99/share vs Street view $1.92

* Raises quarterly dividend by 5 cents to $1.10/share

* Nets $327 mln from sale of stakes in British companies

By Ilaina Jonas

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Simon Property Group Inc reported a 19 percent increase in a key earnings measure Thursday on higher rents and sales at its malls and outlet centers, easily beating estimates, and the real estate investment trust raised its outlook for the year.

The company, the No. 1 U.S. mall and outlet center owner, also increased its quarterly dividend. It is the third time this year that Simon has raised its guidance, and its fifth dividend increase in as many quarters.

Improving retail sales and consumer confidence are good news for mall owners. Luxury mall owner Taubman Centers Inc reported strong sales on Wednesday and raised its outlook for the year.

"The retailers have become much more aggressive in paying up for the right (mall) space in good locations, where last year they were much more hesitant to do that," said Richard Imperiale, president of Uniplan Investment Counsel Inc.   Continued...