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HOUSTON-Weingarten Realty Investors acquired a record $1 billion in assets in fiscal 2006, the first year of its three-year strategic plan that company officials say will streamline its focus on core metropolitan markets.

The Houston-based real estate investment trust said it acquired 34 shopping centers and six industrial properties during the year, formed three new institutional joint venture partnerships that will have a total investment of $1 billion when fully funded and sold off $316 million in assets for a gain of $150 million.

“2006 was a remarkably successful year in which we created the foundation for future growth while also exceeding our goals for the year,” Drew Alexander, the company’s president and CEO said in a conference call.

The future looks even brighter. Thirty development projects are now in the pipeline, up from 10 in 2005, and a total of 60 properties are either under development or being considered, company officials said. Last year, Weingarten put nine development sites under contract, which have a projected final investment of $218 million, and said it has set a $300 million target for annual completions by 2009.

Also on tap this year are planned investments of between $275 million to $280 million along with between $150 million to $200 million in new joint ventures.All that development and investment activity helped boost net income to $53.5 million, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, an increase of more than $3 million compared with the $50.2 million, or 54 cents a share, earned in 2005. Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006 was $146.6 million, up from $129.9 million for the same period in 2005.For the full year, net income was $300.4 million, or $3.27 per share, on revenue of $561.4 million, a 42% increase from 2005 when it recorded net income of $214.8 million, or $2.31 per share, on revenue of $510.4 million. Strong property sales, which included a gain of $150 million, a 45% increase from 2005, accounted for the year-over-year increase, Weingarten said.

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