In tune with its efforts to boost stockholders' return, real
estate investment trust (REIT),
Cousins Properties Incorporated
) hiked its quarterly cash dividend by 67% sequentially to 7.5
cents per share. With this, the company's dividend equates to 30
cents on an annualized basis.
COUSIN PROP INC (CUZ): Free Stock Analysis
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The increased first-quarter dividend will be paid on Feb 24 to
shareholders of record as of Feb 10. The uptick reflects
successful implementation of the company's strategic plan over
the recent years. Notably, Cousins Properties current annual
dividend yield is fairly decent at approximately 2.84%, based on
its closing price of $10.55 as on Jan 17.
In third-quarter 2013, Cousins Properties reported funds from
operations (FFO) per share of 11 cents, beating the Zacks
Consensus Estimate by a penny. This was driven by increase in
revenues as well as occupancy and leasing gains. The company is
scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings after the market
closes on Feb 13, 2014.
Cousins Properties' portfolio is primarily concentrated in the
high-growth Sun Belt markets, which due to their long-term
demographic trends, should exhibit above-average job growth.
Therefore, with the favorable long-term forecasts for its markets
remaining strong, we believe that the company has ample scope to
ride on the growth trajectory, going forward. Its focus on
building its business on a simpler platform, by specifically
targeting trophy assets and opportunistic investments, ensures a
steady revenue stream.
Moreover, Cousins Properties maintains a flexible balance sheet
with ample liquidity that enables it to capitalize on acquisition
opportunities to fuel its growth engine. At quarter end, the
company had cash and cash equivalents of $5.4 million, up from
$4.9 million as of Jun 30, 2013. We believe that it has adequate
cash to continue with strategic investments and reward
shareholders, going forward.
Apart from Cousins Properties, many other REITs have increased
their dividends in the recent times. These include
Omega Healthcare Investors Inc.
) that raised its quarterly cash dividend by 2.1% to 49 cents per
share from 48 cents paid in the last quarter as well as
), which announced a 15% hike in its quarterly dividend rate to
15.5 cents. Also, last month,
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
) increased its quarterly cash dividend by 8.3% sequentially to
13 cents per share.
Solid dividend payouts are arguably the biggest attraction for
REIT investors as the U.S. law requires these companies to
distribute 90% of their annual taxable income to shareholders.
Cousins Properties currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Funds from operations, a widely accepted and reported measure
of REITs performance, are derived by adding depreciation,
amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.