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SEATTLE-Shurgard Storage Centers Inc. is winning all sorts of kudos as of late. On Thursday, CEO Chuck Barbo was announced as the winner of Ernst & Young’s annual Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year award, and now is eligible for the national title.

The news comes on the heels of the company as a whole was named one of The Best Companies to Work for in Washington State by Washington CEO magazine. It also follows a recent upgrading of the company by Salomon Smith Barney from “neutral” to “outperform.”

The self-storage REIT’s stock price has been tracking steadily upward since last October, when the company’s share price traded for a 52-week low of $21.875. At market close on Thursday, shares were trading for $29.75, $1.50 below its 52-week high of $31.25, which came last week on June 29.

“We believe FFO growth could accelerate towards the 10% level, largely due to the elimination of dilution from on balance sheet development, and other non-operating factors, Solomon Smith’s Jonathan Litt wrote in a recent research note. “However, to be conservative we are not changing our FFO growth assumptions as this time.

“With the stock up this year, we missed the bottom,” he notes. “However, after speaking with management, we feel confident that downward earnings revisions are behind the company, and that they should begin to show FFO growth commensurate with its same store performance.”

Litt’s 12-month price target for the company is $32 per share.

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