No Christmas in July for Boston Properties

Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP  ) posted second-quarter results late Tuesday. While management spoke dreamily during the conference call of Christmas coming early, it's hard to find shareholder gifts in the quarter's numbers.

The real estate insurance trust (REIT) owns and develops office buildings in prime markets including New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and, to a lesser degree, Princeton, N.J. The Christmas allusion referred to the documented rising rents and supply constraints in key markets such as these. But Boston Properties' stocking may be hanging near the wrong fireplace.

According to the press release, as of June 30, 2007, the company's portfolio consisted of 134 properties, and the overall percentage of leased space for the 127 properties in service was 94%, down slightly form the 94.2% rate at the end of December.

Funds from operations climbed to $142.9 million, or $1.18 per share, from $129.4 million, or $1.10 per share, a year ago. Total revenue rose 5% to $375.1 million, compared to $357.9 million a year ago. Much of that increase came from higher revenue from parking rentals and hotels. Parking rentals drove in $16.5 million, up from $14.1 million, while hotel sales booked $9.3 million, up from $8.4 million. Net income available to common shareholders declined to $102.3 million, or 84 cents per diluted share, for the three months ended June 30, 2007, compared to $625.7 million, or $5.23 per share, for a year ago, a period which included $581.3 million of real estate gains.

Hampering the company's current performance is a problem of timing. Very little of its rentable square feet is up for renewal. Unlike SL Green (NYSE: SLG  ) , which recently reported strong results that took advantage of escalating lease rates in New York City, Boston Properties sees virtually no rollover now in its Manhattan portfolio, which comprises approximately 30% of its revenues.

Going forward, the firm projects third-quarter funds from operations (FFO) between $1.13 and $1.14 per share and full-year FFO between $4.60 and $4.65 per share. There's no doubt that Boston Properties is a well-managed company with high-quality assets, a strong balance sheet, and an active pipeline. The firm continues to grow its development platform and selectively sell assets, even amid more volatile capital markets. But if you're looking for an early Christmas, you'd better retain some patience while much of the company's ability to tap into current strong commercial office dynamics remains on hold.

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Fool contributor S.J. Caplan does not own shares of the companies discussed in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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