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ATLANTA-Roberts Realty Investors Inc. has come out of an $18-million apartment sale deal with a profit of $4 million, Charles S. Roberts, the company’s CEO, says in a prepared statement.

Roberts didn’t respond to a GlobeSt.com request for the seller’s name on the disposition of its Highland Park asset. However, in the statement, he notes “the price of $17,988,143 resulted in a $4 million profit” and “the sale supports our belief that our stock trades at a price that does not reflect the value of our properties.”

The locally based REIT is trading on the American Stock Exchange in the $6.76 per-share range. The company’s 52-week high-low was $6.90 and $5.85.

The Highland Park sale generated a per-unit-price of $95,682 and net cash proceeds to the company of $6.9 million. Charles Roberts says the company plans to distribute the $4 million profit to its shareholders prior to the company’s annual meeting Sept. 3. The $4 million equates to about 55 cents per share, Roberts says.

The property was developed and constructed in 1995 by Roberts Properties Inc., a non-owned affiliate of Roberts Realty Investors Inc.

According to the company’s first-quarter financials filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended March 31, 2003, Roberts Realty Investors lost $887,000–or a net loss of 17 cents per share–versus a net loss of $733,000–or a loss of 15 cents per share–in the same 2002 period.

Roberts’ CFO Charles R. Elliott tells the SEC the net loss was due to depreciation, a non-cash expense, recorded on the company’s real estate assets as required by GAAP accounting.

Revenue, expenses and net operating income each increased about 10% during the first quarter. Elliott says the increase in revenue and NOI is due to the completion of the leaseups at the company’s Veranda Chase and Addison Place apartment communities. Veranda Chase was 91% leased at the end of the first quarter; Addison Place was 94% leased.

Funds from operations decreased 26.4% from $708,000, or 10 cents per share, to $521,000, or 7 cents per share. Elliott says the decline in FFO was due to interest expense at Veranda Chase “as a result of interest costs being fully expensed during the first quarter of 2003 compared to interest costs being capitalized during the first quarter of 2002 when Veranda Chase was under construction.”

Elliott says the first three months of this year “was another difficult quarter for the Atlanta apartment market, which was reflected in our first-quarter financial results.” Still, he says, “we are pleased that our physical occupancy showed a slight increase from 91.38% to 91.6%, although our same-property revenue, NOI and average monthly rent posted a modest decline.”

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