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File photo of Riocan CEO Ed Sonshine. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)
File photo of Riocan CEO Ed Sonshine. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)

RioCan set to temper its acquiring ways Add to ...

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, which has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, said Thursday that it bought more than $1-billion worth of real estate in 2012.

But it also disclosed that at the moment it’s in talks to buy just $68-million worth of properties in Canada and the U.S., as it seeks to sell 14 properties in Canada that collectively are valued at more than $600-million.

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Analysts suggest that the company, Canada’s largest real estate investment trust, has now reached a new stage in its strategy that will see it be more selective about the acquisitions it makes. And it is taking advantage of higher property values to sell a number of shopping centres in non-core markets, as it sharpens its focus on large cities.

On Thursday the firm reported net profit attributable to unitholders of $468-million, or $1.55 per common unit, for the fourth quarter, up from $241-million, or 87 cents per unit, in the same period a year earlier.

Once taxes and gains on investment properties are factored out, the earnings amounted to $123-million for this latest quarter, up from $98-million.

The shopping centre owner said that same store net operating income rose by 0.2 per cent from a year ago and by 1.9 per cent from the prior quarter. Operating funds from operations, a measure of the cash flow that comes from owning and receiving income properties, was $116-million in the fourth quarter, up from $100-million a year earlier.

“We are very pleased with the performance of the portfolio through what was, as anticipated, a challenging year,” CEO Ed Sonshine stated in a press release. “We are excited about the opportunities for continued growth in the portfolio on multiple fronts as we enter RioCan’s 20 th year as a publicly traded REIT.”

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