Kimco's Consistent Growth

Certain companies can lull you to sleep with their predictability. After another strong quarter, Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM  ) is heading into that territory. Let's peek under the hood at what the company reported and discussed on its conference call, to see if the outlook for this well-managed REIT still looks solid.

For its first quarter, Kimco reported a 12.8% increase in funds from operations (FFO) to $0.53 per diluted share. That's impressive growth for any REIT, well above Kimco's long-term average, and it means that the company's 3.5% dividend yield remains well-funded. It's also worth noting that Kimco has not changed its FFO guidance of $2.12 to $2.16 for the year, despite its equity offering last month.

Kimco continues to go where it can find the best returns and meet its goals of funds-from-operations growth, dividend growth, and dividend sustainability. That can mean forming joint ventures and collecting fees on property management, or looking outside the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. On its conference call, the company discussed how the quarter just past was its most active ever in Canada, and stated that the overall economics of investing in retail real estate there are currently more attractive than in the U.S.

For the quarter, Kimco's occupancy stood at 94.6%, flat with the fourth quarter and 1.2% higher than a year ago. The company believes it can sustain this level of occupancy, and that slight increases are possible over the next couple of years, thanks to the quality of its portfolio. Kimco's tenants include TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX  ) , Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) , Target (NYSE: TGT  ) , and other big-box retailers. Its tenants are not only some of the largest retailers, but more importantly, some of the healthiest.

Valuation-wise, I'm lukewarm on Kimco. I prefer to be conservative when doing a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. Using 8%-10% short-term growth assumptions with declining growth rates for periods beyond five years, my DCF analysis reveals that Kimco is slightly overvalued. But I'm wondering whether my assumptions are too low, given Kimco's performance. I'll need to spend some more time figuring that out, but I generally prefer to buy shares when other investors expect too little of a company, and that's not the case with Kimco right now.

While I debate my growth assumptions, there's plenty of time to reread and review Kimco's annual and quarterly reports. The reports are well-written and reveal a lot about the business and commercial real estate in general. BerkshireHathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) is still the gold standard in shareholder communications, but investors can learn a few things by paying attention to Kimco as well.

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NathanParmelee owns shares in Berkshire Hathaway but has no financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.

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