CBL seeks capital via joint ventures

CBL seeks capital via joint ventures

November 5th, 2009 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. officials said Wednesday they're seeing interest from equity funds, foreign investors and others seeking to joint venture with the company.

"There seems to be a lot of equity money chasing transactions," said John Foy, the Chattanooga-based shopping center company's chief financial officer.

Mr. Foy told analysts during a conference call CBL is exploring opportunities to raise added equity through joint ventures.

He said the talks are preliminary and there's no pressure on the company to complete a deal.

"We don't feel any gun to our head to do the joint ventures," Mr. Foy said.

Analyst Michael Bilerman of Citi asked if the company had brokers seeking deals or outsiders were calling CBL.

Mr. Foy said there are some who have contacted the company and brokers who've brought transactions to CBL.

"It has run the gamut," he said.

Tuesday, CBL reported funds from operations of $68.4 million, or 50 cents per share, in the third quarter. That compares to $55.3 million, or 78 per share, a year ago. Analysts had expected CBL to earn 47 cents per share in the third quarter.

Stephen Lebovitz, CBL's president, said the company continues to see the benefits of its strategy of having malls in middle markets and in those where it is the dominant presence.

"The middle market is the place to be," he said.