The Macerich Co. reported Tuesday that funds from operations rose 5.6 percent to $141 million, or 87 cents a diluted share, from $133.5 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
For the quarter ended March 31, net income was $421 million, or $2.76 a diluted share, compared to $24.6 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The net for the most recent quarter included a $434 million, or $2.67 a share gain, primarily from the sale of joint venture interests in four malls.
FFO for the quarter beat Wall Street estimates by a penny, though revenues of $256 million in the period missed forecasts of $270.3 million.
“The first quarter reflected continued strong performance, as evidenced by the strength of our portfolio’s key operating metrics,” said Arthur Coppola, chairman and chief executive officer of Macerich. “Furthermore, we were able to return capital to stockholders and continue to reinvest in our best assets at what we firmly believe is a significant discount to underlying property value through stock repurchases. Looking ahead, the company remains keenly focused on driving strong same-center net operating income growth, executing on its value-add redevelopment pipeline and achieving superior stockholder returns.”
Mall tenant sales per square foot rose almost 3 percent to $625 for the year ended March 31, from $607 for the year prior. Occupancy was 95.1 percent as of March 31, compared to 95.4 percent in March 31, 2015.
Last March, the company, in a 50/50 joint venture with Taubman Centers, closed on the purchase of Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. Of the total purchase price of $660 million, Macerich paid $330 million.
In other deals this year, in April the company sold Capitola Mall for $93 million and retired 5.1 million shares at an average cost of $78.69 in an accelerated stock repurchase.
In October 2015 and January 2016, Macerich closed on joint ventures that included contributing eight properties valued at $5.4 billion, with GIC Real Estate (40 percent interest in five assets) and Heitman (49 percent interest in three assets). Cash proceeds to Macerich from the transactions totaled $2.3 billion, which included $1.1 billion of excess financing proceeds. Part of the proceeds were used in December 2015 and January 2016 to pay two special dividends of $2 each.
In addition, the company has used a portion of the joint venture proceeds to complete a total of $800 million of share repurchases under the recently authorized $1.2 billion share repurchase program.
The company reaffirmed its forecast for diluted earnings per share of from $3.73 to $3.83 for 2016. Diluted FFO is seen ranging from $4.05 to $4.15.
Macerich, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based real estate investment trust, currently owns 55 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 50 regional shopping centers.