United Dominion Tops View

Funds from operations rise 15%.
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United Dominion Realty Trust's

(UDR) - Get Report

fourth-quarter funds from operations rose 15% from a year ago, reflecting higher rental income.

The company posted funds from operations of $66.3 million, or 44 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $57.5 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected funds from operations of 42 cents a share.

Rental income rose 13.39% to $176.87 million, slightly higher than the consensus estimate of $176.44 million.

The company earned net profit of $68.81 million, or 51 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $20.21 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago. During the quarter, it sold a property in Phoenix, recording a gain of $55.2 million.

"2005 was an outstanding year for UDR in three key areas," the company said. "First, we achieved our best operating performance in over five years as measured by same store occupancy, revenue growth, and net operating income. Second, we improved our portfolio with over $850 million in acquisitions and sales, and by investing $156 million, twice the amount spent in 2004, in our asset quality and development programs. Third, we continued to maintain a strong balance sheet and took advantage of opportunities to reduce interest cost through redemptions and new financings at lower interest rates. Our focus for 2006 is to create value by continuing to aggressively pursue these strategies."

Same community occupancy, multifamily communities owned and stabilized for at least five quarters as of the beginning of the most recent quarter, rose to 94.7% for the quarter, up from 94.1% a year ago.

During the fourth quarter, the company repurchased a total of 3.18 million shares at an average purchase price of $23.03 a share.

United Dominion has forecast funds from operations of 40 cents to 42 cents a share for the first quarter and $1.63 to $1.73 a share for the year. Analysts estimate funds from operations of 41 cents for the quarter and $1.68 for the year.

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