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GGP Posts Gains But Drops Earnings Call and Estimates

Embattled regional mall REIT General Growth Properties reported its fourth quarter and year-end earnings late last night (the release hit the wires at about 11:00 PM). The company had delayed the report two weeks and got it in just under the wire. The numbers were solid. It posted FFO gains thanks to some one-time items. However, the results don't change the company's debt situation and the release reiterated the idea that the company may have to seek bankruptcy protection if it can't find a permanent solution. Furthermore, the company is not doing a call with investors and analysts to discuss these results nor is it providing guidance for 2009.

The Chicago company said that funds from operations -- a key measure of performance for real estate investment trusts -- rose 17 percent, to $222.2 million from $190.4 million in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, core funds from operations fell 14.8 percent, to $231 million, or 72 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had projected core funds from operations of 85 cents per share.

General Growth said it was continuing discussions with its lenders and that it was "considering all strategic alternatives." Yesterday's earnings release came after a two-week delay, and company executives said they would not hold a conference call this quarter. General Growth also said it would not provide earnings forecasts for upcoming quarters.

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