Stronger earnings prompt Rouse to raise dividend Deering assembling management team

September 24, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

The Rouse Co. said yesterday that it was raising its stock dividend because earnings this year are coming in much higher than expected.

The company also promoted a dozen executives in moves company officials marked the first steps toward Chief Operating Officer Anthony W. Deering assembling his own management team.

"It did surprise me that they went ahead and raised the dividend," said Catherine C. Creswell, a securities analyst who follows Rouse for Alex. Brown Inc. in Baltimore. "It tells me they must be feeling very good about this year and next year."

The quarterly dividend will climb to 17 cents a share, from 15 cents effective with the third-quarter payout, to be paid Dec. 17. The jump works out to about 13 percent and would bring Rouse's yield to 3.4 percent from 3.0, based on yesterday's closing stock price. Rouse was up $1.50 yesterday at $19.75 a share, a 52-week high.

"The Rouse Company is having an exceptionally strong year in 1993, much better than had been anticipated," the company said in a statement. "In addition, prospects for 1994 appear to be excellent."

Rouse spokesman David L. Tripp said the stronger earnings were resulting from lower interest rates and higher retail sales. Many of Rouse's tenants pay rents that are tied to their stores' sales. Higher occupancy at the company's shopping malls has also helped the company. Occupancy has increased to 93.5 percent of Rouse's 20 million square feet of mall space in June from 91.3 percent a year earlier, he said.Ms. Creswell said the company's occupancy was consistently stronger than other mall operators, whose occupancy rates run in the mid-to-high 80 percent range. But, she said, Rouse was also getting a big boost from its office building business, which has seen positive cash flow this year.

The company also announced yesterday that it has appointed eight new senior vice presidents and four new vice presidents. Mr. Tripp said it was "probably right" to view the promotions as the beginnings of a management team under Mr. Deering.

"These are all guys who have been in the company for years anhave worked with Tony," Mr. Tripp said.

Mr. Deering was named president and chief operating officer iFebruary, and is expected to become Rouse's chief executive upon the retirement of Mathias J. DeVito, 63. Mr. Tripp said Mr. DeVito has not given any indication of when he would retire.

The new senior vice presidents:

* Jeffrey H. Donahue, chief financial officer;

* Duke S. Kassolis, in charge of existing office and mixed-use project operations;

* Paul I. Latta Jr., director of retail operations;

* Robert Minutoli, director of acquisitions;

* Robert D. Riedy, director of retail leasing;

* Alton J. Scavo, director of community development and responsible for development of Rouse's remaining land in Columbia;

* Jerome D. Smalley, director of commercial and office development;

* George L. Yungmann, company controller.

The new vice presidents:

* Patricia H. Dayton, company treasurer;

* David R. Schwiesow, associate general counsel;

* Karen L. Weir, director of specialty retailing;

* Jody L. Clark, group director of office and mixed-use operations.

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