Should REIT Shoppers Put Kimco Realty at the Top of Their Lists?

Source: Company

Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM  ) is a commercial REIT with a concentration on shopping centers across the United States. Kimco Realty does not only offer investor retail exposure, but also decade-long property management experience, rental growth and a promising dividend yield which likely hasn't seen its peak yet.

More importantly, Kimco Realty has been in the real estate business since 1958, which makes the company one of the most established players in the commercial REIT business.

Profile
Kimco Realty is a New York-based real estate investment trust, that "owns and operates North America's largest publicly traded portfolio of neighborhood and community shopping centers".

At the end of the first quarter, Kimco Realty owned interests in 835 shopping centers in the United States including Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

The majority of its shopping centers -- 732 to be precise -- are located in the United States which remains the most important commercial real estate market for the REIT.

Kimco Realty has approximately 6,900 tenants and is highly diversified. Its largest tenant, TJX, accounts for only 3.1% of Kimco Realty's annualized base rent.

The REIT also counts high-profile companies such as Walmart, CostCo, Office Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond among its customers. 70% of its top ten tenants are, in fact, investment grade rated.

Source: Kimco Realty Investor Presentation May 2014

Focus on U.S. core markets
Acquisitions have always been a pillar of Kimco Realty's growth strategy. And the REIT continues to push acquisitions in its core market, the United States, in 2014: The REIT bought 5 high-quality shopping centers in the first quarter of 2014 for $216 million and 36 shopping centers in the second quarter for $678 million including a New England property portfolio comprising of 24 assets worth $270 million.

Kimco Realty also divested of less desirable assets in the United States including ownership interests in 11 properties in the first quarter and 15 ownership interests in the second quarter.

At the same time, Kimco Realty strengthened its operating platform by divesting less attractive shopping center assets in Mexico: The REIT sold 9 retail properties in the first quarter and 4 retail properties in the second quarter.

Investors will likely see a further focus on the development of Kimco Realty's U.S. portfolio which continues to exhibit very attractive key performance indicators.

Attractive portfolio metrics for the U.S. shopping center portfolio
Kimco Realty's U.S. portfolio has done well over the last three years and especially the rent per square foot trend is encouraging. Rents have consistently trended upward and rose from $11.91 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $13.18 per square foot in the first quarter of 2014.

Going forward, I expect further momentum for commercial lease prices as the U.S. economy progresses through the expansion stage in the business cycle and Kimco Realty should be able to profit handsomely from increasing square foot lease prices.

Source: Kimco Realty Investor Presentation May 2014

Attractive FFO multiple
Kimco Realty generated adjusted funds from operations in the amount of $1.20 per share in 2011 which have ultimately risen to $1.26 per share in 2012 and to $1.33 per share in 2013 indicating a compound annual growth rate of 5.3%.

Kimco Realty is optimistic, that its portfolio focus on U.S. commercial real estate and its concentration on high-growth metropolitan areas will pay off and lead to higher funds from operations down the road.

As a result, the REIT gave an upbeat 2014 AFFO guidance of $1.36-1.40 per share. Based on a midpoint 2014 AFFO guidance of $1.38 per share, Kimco Realty currently trades at 16.7x AFFO, which is a justifiable valuation given its strong portfolio metrics in terms of rent per square foot growth and consistently high occupancy rates above 90%.

The Foolish Bottom Line
Kimco Realty is quite an attractive U.S. shopping center REIT play with quality tenants and a long-term track record.

The company looks back on more than 50 years of property management and development experience and offers investors a credible dividend record. Kimco Realty rewards investors with a dividend yield in the 4% neighborhood while shareholders can likely expect higher dividends down the road.

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