Corporate Office Properties
Puffing up the chill was an 80% drop in earnings per diluted share to $0.03, including a $7.9 million increase in depreciation and amortization related to real estate operations. The company reported a 4.1% increase in funds from operations over the same period a year ago.
Corporate Office Properties is not quite so narrowly focused as Manhattan commercial real estate firm SL Green
There are some facts that can warm you up a bit. Revenue from real estate operations escalated to $89.7 million for the first quarter, from $69.2 million a year ago. As for the bottom line, the company blames expenses of $1.1 million primarily related to unrecoverable snow removal and electricity costs. Gotta move that snow, especially for a company that ranks high in client satisfaction, having won the 2006 customer service award in the large-owner category of the national CEL & Associates survey.
The $363.9 million acquisition of the Nottingham portfolio in January, consisting of 56 operating properties in suburban Maryland, generated most of the increase in depreciation and amortization. While this purchase does not seem as typically tied to interests of its defense-related clients, management appears very excited about this transaction, stressing its accretive pricing and opportunities for significant value creation.
The company lowered the high end of its full-year forecast from $2.27 per share to $2.25, while retaining the low-end mark of $2.18. Management believes that sunnier skies lie ahead and that funds from operations growth will accelerate in the second half of the year. In fact, as the company tries to increase occupancy levels to 94% over the next two years, it sees positive leasing activity coming in the third and fourth quarters and approximately 550,000 square feet of development is expected to be placed into service. The company also owns a sizable land bank of 1,594 acres, which can support 14.3 million square feet of development and add to future FFO growth.
There's no reason to abandon Office Properties now because of a snowy winter. The company has an impressive record of financial stewardship and long-term client relationships. Chill out and see what it reaps later in the year.
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