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PSA Profits up 24% – Increases Dividend 14%

Public Storage’s (PSA) fourth-quarter profit rose 24% as the real-estate investment trust posted wider margins, although revenue missed analysts’ expectations.  Public Storage reported income of $271.4 million, or $1.22 a share, up from $ 220.2 million, or 96 cents a share, a year earlier. Per-share earnings reflect effects from preferred and restricted shares.

Excluding foreign currency exchange impacts and other items, funds from operations (FFO), a key performance benchmark in the REIT sector, grew to $1.86 a share from $1.50. Rental revenue rose 5.3% to $385.6 million.

For the year endedDecember 31, 2012, net income allocable to common shareholders was$669.7 million or $3.90per diluted common share, compared to$561.7 million or $3.29per diluted common share for the same period in 2011, representing an increase of$108.0 million or$0.61per diluted common share.

For the year endedDecember 31, 2012, FFO was$6.31per diluted common share as compared to$5.67for the same period in 2011, representing an increase of 11.3%.

First Call analysts’ consensus has a projected 2013 FFO of $7.09 which is a 12% increase.  Based on its current PE, PSA has a 12-month price target of $170.  This represents an 11.8% price upside which presents a 15% total return with dividends included. PSA has an equity summary score of 7.2 out of 10 for a Bullish outlook.

Concurrent with its earnings release, Public Storage announced a hike in its quarterly dividend. The increased dividend now stands at $1.25 per share, reflecting an augmentation of 15 cents per share, or 14% from the prior-quarter amount. This dividend will be paid on Mar 28, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Mar 13.

PSA has a current dividend yield of 3.28% with a 5-year annual dividend growth rate of 20%.

The REIT, which owns self-storage facilities, has benefited from industry consolidation, giving it an advantage advertising-wise and allowing it to gain market share. The company’s top-line results rebounded in the second half of last year, after four consecutive quarters of weaker earnings.

During the three months endedDecember 31, 2012, PSA acquired ten self-storage facilities (761,000 net rentable square feet of self-storage space and additional space that we intend to convert into 220,000 net rentable square feet of storage space for an additional cost of$15 million), located inFlorida(three),Georgia(two),California(two) and one each inArizona,New YorkandTexas, for an aggregate acquisition cost of approximately$82 millionin cash.

We are encouraged with the better-than-expected results at Public Storage. We believe that the company is well poised to maintain its growth curve backed by its robust presence in all the major markets in the U.S.

It is the leading owner and operator of storage facilities in the U.S. and has significantly increased the scale and scope of its operations through the acquisition of Shurgard Storage Centers that has a considerable presence in the European markets.

It also owns a 41% common equity interest in PS Business Parks Inc. (PSB), which owns and operates commercial space, primarily flex, multi-tenant office and industrial space. In addition, the storage facilities of the company have high visibility and are usually located in heavily populated areas that enhance the local awareness of the brand.

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