Shares of commercial real estate services company CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. soared last week after it reported earnings that were double what Wall Street expected.
Shares closed at $16.48 on July 29, up 18 percent in little more than a week.
That stock surge made the company worth an additional $800 million. CB Richard Ellis’ market capitalization rose to $5.3 billion on the day, up from $4.48 billion July 21.
The West L.A.-based company, which is the only publicly traded commercial real estate brokerage based in Los Angeles County, on July 27 reported a second quarter profit of $54.8 million. A year prior, the company reported a loss of $6.6 million.
The earnings equaled 18 cents a diluted share. Analysts had estimated earnings of only 9 cents a share.
Bettering the estimate by such a wide margin is what sparked the stock’s big gains, said William Marks, an analyst at San Francisco-based JMP Securities LLC who covers the firm. CB Richard Ellis also saw its revenue total $1.2 billion, an increase of 23 percent from a year earlier.
A big part of the success: Commercial real estate seems to be turning the corner, according to the firm.
“All of the significant measures we followed closely – rental rates, absorption and yield – appear to be either bottoming or improving,” said Chief Executive Brett White last week in a conference call with analysts.
Marks said in an e-mail interview that the big stock gain also came after the company’s earnings report indicated that it has revenue streams “noticeably different” from commercial real estate owners, whose revenue streams are largely tied to sales and leasing.
“My view is that CB has been too closely linked to owners of commercial real estate,” the analyst said.
Revenue did rise for the company in its investment sales and leasing businesses – the bread and butter of a commercial brokerage. Revenue from sales was up 61 percent from a year earlier; leasing revenue was up 29 percent.
However, revenue for the company’s property management, appraisal, investment management and commercial mortgage businesses all rose at a double-digit rate as well.
“A commercial real estate recovery continued to progress in the second quarter,” White said. “The trajectory of this recovery, however, is difficult to determine as it is set against a backdrop of muted and bumpy recovery of the broader economy.”
In a poll of seven analysts conducted by Bloomberg News, three – including Marks – rated shares of the company a “buy”; three rated it a “hold” and one a “sell.”
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