Shopping mall owner Macerich Inc. said higher rent revenue and tenant occupancy at its shopping malls helped it post fourth-quarter results that were better than analysts expected.

The Santa Monica real estate investment trust, which operates 62 shopping centers across the country, reported net income of $174 million ($1.27 a share), up 7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 15 percent to $251 million.

Funds from operations, an industry measure of profitability, rose more than 11 percent to more than $132 million (90 cents). Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected FFO of 87 cents a share on revenue of less than $219 million.

Revenue from minimum rents rose 18 percent to $140 million. The mall portfolio occupancy rate was 93.8 percent, compared with 92.7 percent a year earlier.

Chief Executive Arthur Coppula said that the REIT had made significant progress in reorganizing debt, and had closed some “attractive” mall acquisitions and buyouts of joint venture partners in other properties at good rates.

“One year ago we gave our board of directors a five-year plan on where wanted to take the company, and at our board meeting last week I told them that frankly I felt that in the last 12 months we had accomplished more than 80 percent of that five-year plan,” Coppula said during a conference call with analysts

Shares closed up $1.46, or 2.4 percent, to $61.51 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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