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ROIC Is Hitting on All Cylinders

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In two weeks I will be attending the annual International Council of Shopping Centers RECon global conference in Las Vegas. While there, I will be conducting interviews with many leading retail REIT CEOs and other industry executives.

The early indications are that this year's event (May 19-22) will attract more than 30,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors, making it an unparalleled networking event, or what I call the super bowl for shopping centers. It's also a great time for me, The Intelligent REIT Investor, to compare report cards with some of the "best and brightest" retail minds on the planet.

One of my scheduled interviewees is Stuart Tanz, the CEO of Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (ROIC - Get Report). His company announced first-quarter earnings last week. I couldn't wait to brag about the latest results, so I thought I would go ahead and publish the exceptional report card for this REIT.

Picking an Intelligent Growth and Income Play

Back in November I recommended ROIC shares at $12.43. Since then, they have increased by more than 20%. Add in the dividend (4%), and you get a REIT that has returned more than 24% (since Nov. 28, 2012).

Courtesy of SNL Financial

Back then ROIC had a market cap of a bit less than $650 million; however, in just five months time, the San Diego-based REIT has climbed in value to about $1 billion. In fact, last week (after earnings were released), ROIC shares hit an all-time high of $15.02.

The first-quarter results were exceptional. Here's what CEO Stuart Tanz had to say:
"We are pleased to report that the company is off to a strong start in 2013. We are continuing to successfully execute our business plan of broadening our portfolio through acquiring quality, grocery-anchored shopping centers and quickly enhancing value through our proactive hands on management. Additionally, we are continuing to enhance our strong financial position."

With respect to ROIC's balance sheet, the company recently retired more than 58% of its existing warrants, and that has provided positive news for investors. I view the recent warrant activity as an important endorsement of the company's accomplishments to date as well as its future growth prospects. With the warrants that have been exercised thus far, ROIC has received approximately $157 million of proceeds to invest.

Also for the first quarter, ROIC had $24.4 million in total revenues, as compared to $16.6 million in total revenues for the first quarter of 2012.

Additionally, the company had net income of $2.3 million for the first quarter of 2013 as compared to net income of $1.1 million for the first quarter of 2012. Funds from operations (or FFO) for the first quarter was $11.5 million as compared to $8.4 million in FFO a year ago.
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