CS First Boston Cuts Liberty Property to Hold from Buy

Analyst Lawrence Raiman cited a significant degree of development risk for the real estate investment trust

CS First Boston downgraded its investment rating on real estate investment trust Liberty Property Trust (LRY) to hold from buy.

Analyst Lawrence Raiman said the REIT contains a significant degree of development risk. Raiman points out that new construction commitments now represent 8.5% of the trust's market capitalization. And Liberty faces a significant number of lease expirations in the next 18 months. Additionally, Raiman expressed concerns about the company's key Philadelphia market, and notes demand has dried up. He says there are almost no bids for vacant space.

Raiman also cut his 2001 and 2002 earnings per share estimates for the REIT by $0.04 and $0.11, respectively. He noted his estimates now stand close to $0.05 below the consensus figure from Wall Street analysts for both years. Raiman also trimmed his estimate for the REIT's net asset value -- a measure of the market value of Liberty's real estate and investment holdings and net cash -- to $30 a share from $31. He also reduced his price target for the stock to $29.50 from $31.

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