S&P 500 componentPublic Storage (
) is gaining ground -- in more ways than one.
At the end of 2013, the real estate investment trust (REIT)
had interests in 2,200 self-storage facilities in 38 states with
approximately 141 million net rentable square feet.
It operates 188 storage facilities in seven Western European
nations under the Shurgard brand.
It also has a 42% equity stake in NYSE-listedPS Business Parks
) which operates about 29.7 million rentable square feet of
Public Storage has taken advantage of a low-interest
environment by acquiring 145 self-storage facilities since
January 2012. In the fourth quarter alone, it acquired 89
facilities for a total price tag of about $765 million. At the
end of 2013, development and expansion projects were in the works
that are expected to add 1.8 million net rentable square
In the REIT space, Public Storage has one of the most
consistent track records of growth out there. Last week, the
company reported another solid quarter with funds from operations
(FFO) up 12% from a year ago to $2.08 a share. Sales growth
accelerated for the second straight quarter, rising 9% to $513.5
million. In 2013, annual return on equity (12.5%) and pretax
margin (53.4%) hit multi-year highs.
As part of its earnings report, the company announced a
quarterly dividend of $1.40 a share, giving it a current yield of
3.4%. The dividend is payable on March 31 to shareholders of
record as of March 14. Public Storage boasts a solid dividend
growth rate of 15%.
Public Storage has been consolidating gains since November.
Shares have come back to life in recent weeks, up about 15%,
after hitting a low of 147.14 in December.
An Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B+ points toward steady
institutional buying in recent weeks.