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Simon Posts Surprise Profit, Cuts Outlook

Simon property reports better-than-expected funds from operations due to higher rent and lower expenses.

Mall operator

Simon Property

(SPG) - Get Simon Property Group, Inc. Report

reported better-than-expected funds from operations, or FFO, due to higher rent and lower expenses.

Simon said first-quarter FFO rose 14% to $476.8 million, or $1.61 a share, compared with $420.1 million, or $1.46. Results easily surpassed analysts' expectations of $1.46 a share.

Revenue grew 3% to $918 million from $895 million last year.

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The company said it expects to post full-year FFO in the range $6.05 to $6.20, down from its prior forecast of $6.40 to $6.60 per share.

Simon reduced its quarterly dividend to 60 cents a share in cash and stock from 90 cents per share, but raised the cash component of the dividend by 3 cents per share. Last week an analyst at Goldman Sachs said Simon has solid liquidity and potentials for improvement in its stock.

Real estate investment trusts, including mall and shopping-center operators, have struggled with high debt and drops in occupancy amid the recession. Mall operator

General Growth Properties

filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month after it was unable to refinance maturing debt.

Shares of the company decreased 5% in morning trading to $49.17.

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