Their focus on top properties will pay off

Article Excerpt

RIOCAN REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST $23.49 (Toronto symbol REI.UN; Units outstanding: 322.7 million; Market cap: $7.6 billion; TSINetwork Rating: Average; Dividend yield: 6.1%; www.riocan.com) owns all or part of 294 shopping centres and other properties across Canada. They include 16 properties now under development. In all, the REIT controls 45.1 million square feet of rentable space. Its overall occupancy rate is a high 96.8%. The trust recently announced its plan to focus on six major urban markets: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. As part of that strategy, RioCan plans to sell about 100 properties for a total of $1.5 billion (net of transaction costs). So far, it has signed firm deals to sell $511.9 million worth of those properties. The trust will use about half of the proceeds to buy back its units. RioCan will then apply the other half to its debt and to funding new developments. Meantime, the REIT’s revenue for the three months end- ed December 31, 2017, rose…

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