Dutch real-estate company Corio NV (CORA.AE) Thursday reported an increase in fourth-quarter profit as a large acquisition helped to boost rental income, and said it expects a slight improvement in its direct result.

The Utrecht-based company, one of Europe's biggest listed investors in shopping malls, said its fourth-quarter direct result--rental income minus taxes and operating and administrative expenses--rose to EUR63.4 million from EUR56.3 million in the same period a year earlier.

Investors watch this figure closely, as it is used to calculate dividend payments.

Corio said it intends to pay a dividend of EUR2.69 a share, EUR0.04 more than in the year prior.

Profit was helped by last year's acquisition of a EUR1.3 billion real-estate portfolio that included four shopping centers in Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Corio competes with Franco-Dutch rival Unibail-Rodamco SA (UL.FR) and Netherlands-based Wereldhave NV (WHA.AE). Its biggest tenants include food and fashion retailers such as Royal Ahold NV (AH.AE), Hennes & Mauritz AB (HM-B.SK) and Inditex SA (ITX.MC).

Corio published its results after the local market closed. Thursday, it ended trading up 0.1% at EUR49.03 in an Amsterdam market up 0.4%.

An ING analyst said in a first reaction Corio's results were in line with expectations.

-By Archibald Preuschat, Dow Jones Newswires; +31 20 5715 218; archibald.preuschat@dowjones.com

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