Earnings quadrupled in Sunrise Senior Living's ( SRZ) fourth quarter, as sales surged and the company recorded a gain on a securities transaction.

Sunrise earned $50.3 million, or $1.01 a share, in the quarter, compared with $12.7 million, or 28 cents a share, last year. The latest quarter included a gain of about $4 million from the sale of debentures in a real-estate investment trust.

Total operating revenue rose 46% from a year ago to $554.7 million in the quarter, while total operating expenses rose 32% to $485.3 million. Another sales metric, revenue under management, rose 14% to $529.7 million in the quarter. The figure includes revenue generated by consolidated communities, communities owned in unconsolidated ventures and communities owned by third parties that are managed by Sunrise.

Sunrise said fourth-quarter revenue for its same-community portfolio rose 6.7% as a result of a 3.6% rise in the average daily rate to $136.55 and a 3.4 percentage-point rise in occupancy to 94.4% percent. "The 94.4% 'same community' occupancy is the highest level achieved in more than five years," it said.

For 2006, Sunrise expects to earn $1.16 to $1.20 a share, including a gain of 4 cents a share related to a termination fee; a gain of 2 cents a share related to deferred income; and an expense of 4 cents a share for stock options. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of $1.17 a share.

"Sunrise's 2006 earnings per share is expected to be driven by higher management and professional services revenue resulting from additional construction starts, 24 expected new development openings from Sunrise's expanded development pipeline, full-year contributions from The Fountains and Greystone acquisitions, and by further growth in earnings generated by Sunrise's equity investments in unconsolidated ventures," the company said.