Maguire Properties swings to profit

Long-suffering office landlord Maguire Properties Inc. on Monday reported a first-quarter profit linked largely to the forgiveness of a $49.1-million debt it was unable to pay.

The Los Angeles real estate investment trust, which owns some of the region’s best-known skyscrapers including the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles, finished the quarter with $18.6 million in net income attributable to common shareholders, a dramatic contrast from the $53.9-million loss reported a year earlier.

Finances in both quarters were influenced by significant one-time events, however.

This year, Maguire was forgiven $49.1 million in debt on Griffin Towers, a Santa Ana office complex it sold in March as part of a long campaign to reduce its liabilities. It also recorded a $16.6-million deferred gain on the 2006 sale of a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles. The first quarter in 2009 was affected by a $23.5-million write-down of the value of an Irvine office building and other charges.

Maguire reported a profit of 38 cents a share in the quarter, compared with a loss of $1.13 in the same quarter of 2009. Revenue was down 2% to $111.5 million.

“Revenues are flattening and their leasing seems to be going at a stable pace,” said analyst Craig Silvers, president of Bricks & Mortar Capital. “They seem to have stabilized their operations.”

Maguire’s reconciled funds from operations, a key measure for REITs, were 5 cents a share, compared with 7 cents a year earlier.

Maguire’s stock price has doubled this year but is still far off its 2007 peak of $44.25. Shares closed Monday up 44 cents at $3.14 before the earnings were released.