High Quality Assets Plus a Tax Exemption

Article Excerpt

When Ottawa moved to put income trusts on an equal footing with corporations, it exempted REITs. We’ve recommended these two REITs for some time, mainly because of the quality of their assets. We continue to view both as buys. RIOCAN REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST $25 (Toronto symbol REI.UN; Aggressive Growth Portfolio, Manufacturing & Industry sector; SI Rating: Average) owns all or part of 203 large, outdoor suburban malls across Canada. In the three months ended September 30, 2006, RioCan earned $0.21 a unit from continuing operations, down slightly from $0.22 a year earlier, mainly due to higher interest and amortization expenses. However, cash flow per share rose 29.0%, to $0.40 from $0.31, while revenue grew 7.3%, to $160.7 million from $149.8 million. Demand by retailers for space in RioCan’s malls remains strong. In fact, the occupancy rate rose to 97.5% in the most recent quarter — a new record. National chains such as Wal-Mart and Loblaw account for 83% of RioCan’s rental revenue, which…

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