November 13, 2009 / 5:31 AM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Boardwalk REIT sees challenging 2010, payout flat

* Monthly distribution remains at C$0.15 per unit

* Sees 2010 FFO per unit range C$2.45-C$2.60

* Q3 FFO/Unit C$0.66 vs C$0.68 in Q3’ 08

* Q3 Adj FFO/Unit fell 5 pct to C$0.58 (Adds details from conference call. Recasts.)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canada’s Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (BEI_u.TO) warned on Friday it expects 2010 to be a “challenging” year and said its distribution was unlikely to increase soon.

The REIT announced it would leave its monthly payout unchanged at 15 Canadian cents per unit at least for the next three months.

“We think next year is going to be another challenging year. That’s not the time, we believe, to be increasing our distribution,” said Sam Kolias, chief executive officer, on a conference call with investors.

“We believe that should be at a better time when our guidance is positive, and our growth is ... firmly in place, and things look a lot brighter than they do right now. Not that they look bad, it’s just still uncertain.”

Boardwalk forecast per-unit funds from operations, a key measure of performance for real estate companies, next year to be in a band between C$2.45-C$2.60.

The company repeated it did not expect to make any acquisitions for the rest of 2009 and said it was unlikely to dip into the acquisition market next year either, unless it was an opportunity that provided “extraordinary” value.

The REIT reported third-quarter funds from operations fell 5 percent to C$35 million ($33.18 million), or 66 Canadian cents per diluted unit, hurt by finance-related charges incurred as it increased liquidity.

That compared to FFO of C$36.8 million, or 68 Canadian cents in the year-ago quarter. The REIT said adjusted FFO per unit fell 5 percent to 58 Canadian cents.

For the remainder of the year, the REIT raised the lower end of its 2009 outlook per-unit range on funds from operations to C$2.50-C$2.55. Previously, it said it expected FFO per unit between C$2.45-C$2.55.

The Calgary, Alberta-based trust said its net operating income for the quarter was C$71.8 million, flat from the year-ago quarter.

The average monthly rent in the trust’s portfolio was C$976 per suite, compared to C$977 a year earlier. Rental revenues in the quarter fell 0.5 percent to C$107.2 million.

Boardwalk said it was pleased that Canada’s biggest oil company, Suncor Energy, has earmarked C$5.5 billion for capital expenditures next year and will restart projects the economic crisis had forced it to suspend. [ID:nBNG481094]

More activity in the oil patch means Boardwalk, which operates many of its properties in the energy-rich province of Alberta, may have stable occupancy and rental revenues.

Units of Boardwalk rose 0.35 percent to C$37.43 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng in Toronto and Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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