Irvine-based real estate investor Sabra Health Care REIT Inc. issued a bullish forecast for the year ahead.

The company, which owns nursing homes and other healthcare operations, expects between $68.6 million and $70.1 million in funds from operations, which are considered a primary gauge of performance for real estate investment trusts.

Sabra had projected total funds from operations between $56.8 million and $58.6 million for 2012, although the company has not yet released year-end results.

Net income for 2013 is projected between $38.2 million and $39.7 million. It had forecast net income in a range of $23.7 million and $25.2 million for 2012.

Sabra said it expects to make investments worth between $150 million and $200 million during 2013, with the bulk anticipated to close in the latter part of the year.

The company also said it will pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 34 cents per share of common stock in February, reflecting a 3% increase.

Sabra’s shares were up about 1% during morning trading, to a market value of about $853.7 million.