Ventas' reports whopping fourth quarter earnings

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Ventas reported whopping fourth-quarter earnings of $77.1 million, after discontinued operations of $61.8 million, compared with $9.4 million, after discontinued operations of $1.2 million in the year-earlier quarter. Revenues rose to $50.5 million, 94% of which came from leases with Kindred Healthcare, up from $46.4 million.

The Louisville, KY-based real estate investment trust attributed the results to increased rents, income from the company's investments with Trans Healthcare in 2002 and decreased interest expense due to lower debt balance.

During the fourth quarter, Ventas acquired ElderTrust for $184 million, adding 18 properties to its portfolio.

The company's funds from operations for the quarter rose 33% to $32.3 million from $24.2 million. Funds from operations, a common measure of performance for real estate investment trusts, excludes depreciation, gains and losses on real estate sales and other items.
 
Ventas' net income for the year was $163.8 million, compared with $65.7 million in 2002.