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Toledo's Health Care REIT reports higher profits for 2008

Despite a turbulent environment that battered many sectors of the real estate market, Toledo s Health Care REIT Inc. yesterday reported higher revenues and profits for 2008.

Revenues at the real estate investment trust, which is a landlord to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other health-related businesses, soared 22 percent to $551 million from $454 million in 2007.

Profits declined in the fourth quarter, but for the year more than doubled to $288 million, or $2.81 a share, from $141 million, or $1.46 a share in 2007.

Michael Crabtree, treasurer, was especially pleased with an increase in so-called funds from operations, which is a common way REITs measure performance.

Even in a tough year, our funds from operation were up 8 percent year over year, Mr. Crabtree said. The figure increased to $3.38 a share from $3.12 a share in 2007. That performance was slightly better than forecasts by analysts, who expected $3.37 a share.

Health Care REIT is popular with investors seeking high dividend payouts. With shares closing up $2.34 to $33.45 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, the firm s current quarterly payment of 68 cents represents an 8 percent payout.

For the fourth quarter, profit slipped 41 percent to $29 million, or 22 cents a share, from $49 million, or 52 cents a share, in the prior-year period. That led to a 58 percent drop in net income available to stockholders per-share to 22 cents from 52 cents in the final period of 2007.

The drop mainly resulted from a $33 million reduction in the value of medical office buildings Health Care REIT plans to sell and a $22 million loss connected to an abandoned debt offering, officials said.

Revenues in the fourth quarter increased 18 percent to $147 million from $125 million in 2007.

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