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Sovran Self Storage earnings rise 29%

Stronger occupancy levels and rising rents helped Sovran Self Storage’s first-quarter earnings jump by 29 percent and top analyst forecasts by a penny.

The Amherst-based company, which runs more than 500 Uncle Bob’s self storage facilities in 25 states primarily in the eastern half of the country, also said it expects the improvement to continue throughout the year, predicting that its earnings will rise by 18 percent during 2015 and grow even faster than analysts currently are forecasting.

Sovran said the improvement during the first quarter was due to a 1 percentage point rise in occupancy levels, which averaged 89.8 percent during the quarter at stores open for at least a year and finished March at 90.5 percent.

The strong demand allowed Sovran to push its rents higher by an average of 3 percent to $11.94 per square foot.

As a result, the company earned $36.9 million, or $1.07 per share, during the quarter, up from $28.7 million, or 88 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding acquisition expenses and other costs, Sovran’s profits grew by 18 percent to $37.6 million, or $1.09 per share, from $31.9 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.08 per share.

For the entire year, Sovran said it expects to earn between $4.79 and $4.83 per share, up about 18 percent from $4.09 last year and better than the $4.73 per share that analysts currently are forecasting. Earnings during the current quarter are expected to range between $1.21 and $1.23 per share, better than the $1.19 per share consensus analyst forecast.