Highwoods Properties, the largest suburban office landlord in the Southeast, reported fourth-quarter results late today that met Wall Street estimates for the year.
The Raleigh real estate investment trust's 35 million square-foot portfolio was 88.8 percent occupied at the end of the year, up from 87.8 percent occupied in the third quarter.
Highwoods reported funds from operations, a profitability measure for REITs, of $2.61 cents per share for the year, compared to $2.77 per share for 2008. Funds from operations for the fourth quarter was 42 cents per share, compared to 19 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Ed Fritsch, Highwoods chief executive, said in a statement that the company's balance sheet was strengthened during 2009. The company has focused on paying down debt and using its healthy balance sheet to retain and win new tenants during the downturn.
“Today we have cash on hand, no borrowings on our new $400 million credit facility and only $138 million of debt maturing through year-end 2011,” Fritsch said.
During the fourth quarter, Highwoods added $95 million in office development, including two new buildings built for the federal government. The company sold $88.8 million worth of properties.
Results were released after regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares fell 16 cents to close at 27.53. The stock has fallen 15 percent since the beginning of the year.