JERUSALEM, March 31 (Reuters) - Gazit-Globe, Israel's largest real estate development company, moved to a net profit in the fourth quarter, helped by a rise in rental income.
Gazit-Globe said on Thursday it earned 1.14 shekels ($0.3017) per share in the October-December period, compared with a 1.25 shekel loss per share a year earlier.
Rental income grew 24 percent to 1.56 billion shekels and net operating income gained 25 percent to 1.05 billion, boosted by the consolidation of its Atrium European Real Estate subsidiary and the acquisition by its Citycon subsidiary of Norwegian real estate firm Sektor Gruppen.
Gazit-Globe said the fair value gain from investment property and property under development was 231 million shekels versus 699 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The company said it planned to buy back 100 million shekels of its shares and 250 million shekel of its debt.
It will pay a dividend of 46 cents a share for the fourth quarter, the same as the third quarter. It will start paying a quarterly dividend of 35 cents a share from the second quarter of 2016 to reflect a dividend of $1.51 for all of 2016.
Gazit-Globe operates in the United States through Equity One and in Canada through First Capital Reality Inc . It is the largest shareholder in Finland's Citycon , controls shopping mall developer Atrium and is expanding in Brazil.
$1 = 3.7791 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; By Tova Cohen