These REITs fuel growth with property sales

Article Excerpt

RIOCAN REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST $23.63 (Toronto symbol REI.UN; Units outstanding: 322.7 million; Market cap: $7.5 billion; TSINetwork Rating: Average; Dividend yield: 6.1%; www.riocan.com) owns all or part of 284 shopping centres and other properties across Canada. They include 17 projects now under development. In all, the REIT controls 43.3 million square feet of rentable space. Its overall occupancy rate is a high 96.6%. 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, the trust has either sold or agreed to sell various properties for a total of $583.4 million. It also has conditional deals to sell 14 more properties for $224.8 million. To protect its revenue, the REIT continues to add more residential units to its malls. That should cut its reliance on retail tenants. Due to its recent…

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