Chattanooga-based CBL sells three malls

Chattanooga-based CBL sells three malls

September 4th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. Staff file photo.

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WHAT'S BEING SOLD?

• Rivergate Mall in Nashville

• Georgia Square Mall and Georgia Square Plaza in Athens, Ga.

• Panama City Mall and The Shoppes at Panama City in Panama City, Fla.

In its single biggest, one-day sale of retail properties, CBL & Associates Properties Inc. said Tuesday it sold shopping malls in Nashville, Athens, Ga., and Panama City, Fla. to an Atlanta-based investment firm, Hendon Properties, for $176 million.

The Chattanooga-based development firm said the sale of the three malls will help pay down unsecured debt and position the company to invest in properties with greater growth potential. The company estimates the sale will add 2 cents per share to its funds from operations this year.

Despite the anticipated gain from the sale, CBL stock closed Tuesday down 3 cents a share to $19.17. Shares of CBL stock are down 7.7 percent this year despite the overall gain in most stock market indices.

CBL in June reported its second-quarter earnings dropped 60 percent while its funds from operations fell to 51 cents from 53 cents in the prior-year quarter.

The malls being sold had stable revenue growth, CBL Senior Vice President Katie Reinsidt said.

Hendon, which is buying the properties, also will lease and manage the malls.

CBL President Stephen Lebovitz said the sale of the properties demonstrates "our continued ability to effectively execute our capital plan. So far this year, CBL has sold $44 million of office buildings and generated another $209 millio in equity capital through at-the-market proceeds.

"This deliberate approach has allowed us to significantly reduce debt while minimizing dilution and strengthening our core portfolio," Lebovitz said. CBL is positioning itself to better handle the expected rise in interest rates.

CBL is one of the largest and most active owners and developers of malls and shopping centers in the United States with 154 properties, including boht the Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in Chattanooga.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.