Digital Realty Trust Inc. Earnings: Sometimes No News is Good News

Digital Realty Trust delivered strong results in the second quarter, but nothing that grabbed headline attention. Yet that may be exactly what investors want.

Aug 19, 2014 at 1:23PM

Data John Mcstravick
Source: Flickr / John McStravick. 

Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) delivered no groundbreaking news with its second-quarter report, but did put some strong results in the books.

Sitting at the intersection of old and new
Digital Realty Trust a real estate investment trust, or REIT, meaning it principally owns property and also offers a sizable dividend -- above 5% at the time of writing -- to its investors. Often these companies are among the more traditional, stable, and in many ways boring -- albeit in a good way -- investments available.

Yet at the same time, Digital Realty Trust is involved in the high-flying, fast-moving "big data" landscape: Instead of owning properties such as restaurants, strip malls, or apartments, it is "the world's largest data center REIT."

Its data-center properties are leased out to companies to meet their needs to store and process the information that makes their businesses run. Digital Realty's 10 biggest tenants include IBMFacebookAT&T, and other big names.

In many ways Digital Realty Trust sits at the intersection of the proverbial "old school" of property and the "new school" of data. Keep this in mind when reviewing its earnings results or considering an investment in the company.

Slow and steady wins the race
I say all of that because it's possible to conclude that since Digital Realty Trust operates in a rapidly growing and expanding industry, it should deliver staggering results. After all, since tenant Facebook recently saw quarterly revenue jump 61% year over year, investors can expect something similar from Digital Realty, right? 

But Digital Realty has a much more stable business. While it may not see astonishing growth akin to Facebook, that doesn't mean it can't deliver impressive returns to stockholders.


Source: Flickr / BobMical.

And that brings us to Digital Realty's second-quarter earnings. Revenue was up 10% relative to the second quarter of last year, to stand at $401 million.

While the growth in its core funds from operations was not as impressive, growing by less than 2% to $1.21 per share, the company still topped analysts' consensus expectation of $1.20.

Digital Realty also raised its full-year earnings guidance from the previously announced $4.80-$4.90 per share to $4.85-$4.95.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the report was that new leases signed represented $35 million in revenue, a sizable improvement from $16 million signed in the second quarter of last year. In addition, the company said it logged $10 million in revenue from renewal of leases, and for those customers the rental rates rose by 9% on a cash basis.

The key takeaway
Digital Realty Trust's second quarter was largely solid but seemingly unspectacular, as it had no real headline-grabbing results -- either positively or negatively. Yet with those REITs that deliver solid and reliable dividends, sometimes that's exactly what you need.

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Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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