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COPT reports gains as it completes repositioning

Profits at Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia-based owner and developer of office parks, rose for the three months that ended Dec. 31, as the real estate investment trust finished repositioning its portfolio.

"We have completed the portfolio repositioning and balance sheet improvements that diluted results in recent years," said Roger A. Waesche Jr., COPT's president and CEO, in a statement.

The firm, which caters to government and defense-related tenants, saw earnings per share hit 94 cents for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared to 16 cents during the same period in 2012. For the year, earnings per share were 83 cents, a reversal of a 3 cents per share loss in 2012.

Fourth quarter funds from operations per share was $1.21 versus 49 cents in 2012. For the year, funds from operations per share increased, to $2.40 from $2.13 in 2012. Real estate investment firms use funds from operations as a better measure their cash flow and health.

"We forecast that the second quarter will mark the bottom of our [Funds From Operations] per share and quarterly results will rebuild thereafter," Waesche said in an conference call Friday.

COPT has been shedding properties since 2011, in an effort to refocus on buildings serving tenants related to the government, particularly defense. In April, 2011, the company owned 252 office properties. It owned 183 properties at the end of 2013.

In trading Friday, shares of the real estate investment trust rose almost 3 percent, up 72 cents each to close at $25.37.

nsherman@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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