Gain Boosts Liberty Property

It earns 32 cents a share before items.
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Liberty Property Trust

(LRY)

said profits more than doubled from a year ago in its December quarter, boosted by gains on asset sale.

The real estate investment trust earned $107.3 million, or $1.20 a share, in the quarter, compared with $45.9 million, or 53 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for the gain, earnings were $28.6 million, or 32 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

Fourth quarter revenue grew by about 7% from a year ago to $171.9 million, which was lower than the analysts' estimates of $174.1 million.

Liberty said that it had leased 98.2% of three development properties in the quarter, totaling 1.3 million square feet, which were yielding 9.3% on the company's investment of $82.2 million. The trust, at year end, had 5.6 million square feet under development.

"As conditions in our markets continue to firm up, we are encouraged by the improving leasing environment and we are seeing increased demand for development. In 2006 we expect to see the continued narrowing of the gap between rents on expiring leases and new leases, and a continued expansion of our development pipeline," the company said.

Property level operating income for same store properties decreased by 2% on a cash basis for the fourth quarter of 2005. For the full year 2005 the company earned $213.84 million, or $2.82 a share.

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