Santa Says Simon Has Been Very, Very Good This Year
Simon has a market cap of around $48.8 billion and the company owns, develops and manages more than 590 retail properties (malls, shopping centers, and outlet centers) in North America, Europe, and Asia. With assets over $31 billion, Simon leases spaces to many "best in class" retailers such as Gap(GPS) , Limited Brands(LTD) , Abercrombie & Fitch(ANF) , Foot Locker(FL) , Forever 21, Ann Inc.(ANN) , JC Penney(JCP) and Macy's.
Weighing down Santa's sleigh this year is Simon's robust funds from operations performance of $1.99 per share, up 16.4% from the third quarter of 2011. Year-to-date, Simon's FFO was almost $2.1 billion or $5.70 per share, up 14.7% over 2011.
Driving the international growth for Simon is the construction of five new Premium Outlet Centers, all scheduled to open in 2013. Two are in the U.S.: Chandler, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix; and Chesterfield, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. One is in Toronto, Canada. Another is in Japan and the fifth is in Busan, Korea. Simon's share of the development costs of these assets is expected to be approximately $325 million.
Santa will need to back up the bus (instead of the sleigh) to load up the Simon dividends. Recently the company announced the fifth consecutive increase in quarterly dividends from $1.05 to $1.10. The total dividend paid in 2012 is $4.10 as compared to $3.50 per share paid in 2011. That represents an increase of 17.1%.
In this year alone, Simon has increased its dividend by 5 cents a share in all four quarters and Simon's dividend is now 22.2% higher than it was immediately prior to the great recession. This is the highest increase among Simon's retail REIT peers, the second-highest among all S&P 500 REITs behind Public Storage (PSA) . Current dividend levels for many REITs remain well below their 2008 levels.