NEW HYDE PARK, NY-In its continuing pursuit of geographic diversity, locally based Kimco Realty Corp. formed a JV with Patio Gestion Inmobilaria SA, an established retail developer in Chile, during 4Q 2006. This follows expansion to Mexico that began in 2002 and precedes additional Latin America exploration.

In discussing its international push during a 4Q conference call, Milton Cooper, CEO, said it began in Canada in 2001 and was quickly followed by its entry into Mexico in 2002. “With the success we’ve had in Mexico, we want to parlay that into other Latin American countries,” Cooper said, “and we selected Chile, a very stabile country with good, strong economics similar to Mexico.

“We’re looking at Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica,” he added. “This is preliminary exploration. We’re pursuing expansion in Latin America in a very measured way.”

The Chilean JV will acquire and develop shopping centers in major markets throughout the country, beginning with a 50%-interest in four existing properties located in Santiago, the capital. The four properties have an acquisition value of $16.2 million and aggregate 153,600 sf, including expansion space. Major tenants include Chile’s two leading pharmacies and two leading supermarkets.

Kimco began six new shopping center developments in Mexico during 4Q at an anticipated aggregate investment of approximately $146.6 million. They encompass more than 1.8 million sf.

“We’re the largest owner of neighborhood and community shopping centers in Mexico,” said David Henry, chief investment officer and vice chairman, during the conference call. Kimco also acquired a stabilized shopping center in Mexicali, Baja California, which is anchored by Wal-Mart and Office Depot, along with three net-leased industrial properties for an aggregate of $78.5 million.

Also during the final quarter of 2006 Kimco invested $10 million in three preferred equity transactions in Canada and completed a fourth at a total investment of $7.1 million. It also funded a $2.5-million preferred equity investment in a three-property retail portfolio with Abacus Capital in Canada. “We’re continuing to bet long on Canada,” Cooper said.

The company’s total portfolio encompasses 1,348 properties. Of those, 166 are in Canada, and 102 are in Mexico.

The largest of its investments continued to be in US real estate. During 4Q 2006 and January 2007, it acquired interests in 166 US properties at an aggregate value in excess of $5.4 billion. That includes its $4.1-billion buy of Pan Pacific Retail Properties and the $920-million acquisition of the Crow Holdings portfolio, both previously reported in GSR, in addition to interests in assets in Harriman, NY; Conroe, TX; Maple Grove, MN and Puerto Rico.

The company’s 4Q net income rose 22.5% to $131.9 million, up from $107.7 million for the same quarter of 2005. Kimco’s parent portfolio occupancy rose to a record 95.5%, up from 94.6% at the same time a year ago.

Shares of KIM closed at $52 a share on the NYSE on Feb. 13, up slightly more than 2.5% for the day. The 52-week high of $52.82 was reached on Feb. 8, and the 52-week low of $34.20 a share occurred on May 22, 2006.

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