TORONTO (Reuters) - Brookfield Properties Corp BPO.TO reported a slightly lower funds from operations on Friday, as strong commercial property results largely offset slow residential operations.
Brookfield, one of Manhattan's biggest landlords, said funds from operations were $126 million, or 32 cents a diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31. That was down slightly from $129 million, or 32 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
Analysts had expected FFO of 35 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Funds from operations are a benchmark measure in the real estate sector, aimed at removing the distorting effects of depreciation.
The company's stock slipped 18 Canadian cents, or 0.9 percent, to C$20.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Earnings for the first quarter fell to $23 million, or 6 cents a diluted share, from $53 million, or 13 cents a diluted share. The year-ago earnings were helped by a net gain of $34 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, on the sale of three non-core properties in Toronto and Ottawa.
During the quarter, Brookfield said it leased more than one million square feet of space at an average net rent of $30.32 a square foot, which represents a 42 percent increase versus the average in-place net rent of $23.11 per square foot at the beginning of the quarter.
Looking forward, the company will be focused on positioning itself to take advantage of opportunities that may arise from the economic slowdown in the U.S., Ric Clark, president and chief executive, said in a release.
"With a strong tenant base and conservative lease expiry profile, Brookfield Properties is well-positioned in the face of softening U.S. economic conditions," he said.
The company declared a quarterly dividend of 14 cents a share payable on June 30.
Brookfield's portfolio is comprised of interests in 110 properties and includes the World Financial Center in Manhattan, Brookfield Place in Toronto, Bank of America Plaza in Los Angeles and Bankers Hall in Calgary.
Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Scott Anderson