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ATLANTA-Lower rent revenue is behind Cousins Properties Inc.’s sharp decrease in net income for the third quarter and the nine-month period, company president Tom Bell says in a prepared statement.

The locally based developer reported third-quarter net income of $9.9 million, or 19 cents per share, versus $224.7 million, or $4.41 per share, in the comparable 2004 period. For the nine-month period, Cousins Properties Inc. posted net income of $21.9 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $281.3 million, or $5.56 per share, in the same period last year.

Funds from operations totaled $17 million, or 33 cents per share, for the third quarter compared to $29.3 million, or 58 cents per share, last year. FFO for the nine-month period was $50.9 million, or 98 cents per share, versus $81.6 million, or $1.61 per share last year.

Bell says the drop in net income and FFO “reflects a decrease in rental revenues resulting from the sale of $1.3 billion of consolidated and joint venture operating properties in 2004, and the recognition of gains on the sale of these properties in the second and third quarters of 2004 offset by reduction in interest expense, mainly due to the sold properties.”

Bell says the company “continues to see significant development opportunities for each of our divisions.” He adds, “With approximately $600 million of development under way and more coming, our value creation strategy also seems to be working quite well. Leasing of our office portfolio is improving and the office environment in most of our markets is recovering.”

Bell says at Sept. 30 of this year, the company’s portfolio of operational office buildings was 85% leased compared with 84% on June 30. The portfolio of operational retail centers was 96% leased versus 95% on June 30.

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