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CBL shares close week falling 11.75%

Shares of CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Friday closed out a see-saw week as the company's stock fell 11.75%.

CBL's stock closed at 22.38 cents per share, or down 0.0298 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

On Thursday, the Chattanooga-based shopping center company that operates Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in the city along with more than 100 other properties reported that second quarter funds from operations dropped 85% amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the company's shares rose more than 30% on news that it had made $30 million in interest payments on some of its debt and terminated forbearance agreements.

Along with its earnings release, CBL reported that rent collections as a percentage of billed cash-based rents have increased with certain past-due amounts being paid, resulting in an overall collection rate for April through July of over 54%. July rent collections are estimated at 49% of billed rents, the company said, but it anticipates an improvement as it finalizes negotiations with retailers and additional past-due amounts are paid.

 

Paper reshuffling amid COVID closings

Domtar Corp. announced Friday it will permanently close its uncoated freesheet manufacturing plants in Kingsport, Tennesse, and Port Huron, Michigan mills, its remaining paper machine at the Ashdown, Arkansas mill and the converting center in Ridgefields, Tennessee. The plant closings will permanently cut 780 jobs and a part of a $200 million cost-cutting plan for the paper maker through the end of next year.

But Domtar announced Friday it will spend $300 to $350 million to convert its Tennessee manufacturing operations into a new plant that will employ about 150 workers. Domtar will construct a new warehouse and retrofit its existing building and site in order to transition from producing uncoated freesheet paper to manufacturing containerboard product made from 100 percent recycled cardboard. Construction will begin in late 2020 and is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023.

Opened in 1916, Domtar's Kingsport pulp and paper mill is a stand-alone energy source, which reuses up to 100 percent of its manufacturing waste. The facility has an estimated regional economic impact of $714 million.

Linerboard is a paperboard that is used as the facing material in the production of corrugated and solid fiber shipping containers.

"Domtar is taking decisive action to restructure its business in a way that allows the company to remain competitive in light of current business conditions that have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic," said John Williams, Domtar's president and CEO.

 

Consumer borrowing rises again in June

U.S. consumer borrowing rose in June after three months of declines but the key category of credit card debt extended its decline.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that overall consumer borrowing rose by 2.6%, or $8.95 billion, in June after big declines in March, April and May as many parts of the country went into lockdown to combat the coronavirus.

In June, the category of borrowing that covers credit cards fell for a fourth month, dropping by $2.3 billion, or 2.8%. That was offset by an increase in the category that covers auto loans and student loans, which increased by $11.3 billion, or 4.3%.

Consumer borrowing is closely watched for signals it can send about consumers' willingness to keep borrowing to support their spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity.

 

Delta asks 3,000 to take unpaid leave

Delta Air Lines is asking for 3,000 more flight attendants to take unpaid leave or other options, saying it is still overstaffed.

The Atlanta-based airline's senior vice president of in-flight service, Allison Ausband, told flight attendants that based on projections, the company will be overstaffed from October into next summer.

Travel remains depressed due to COVID-19. A nascent recovery earlier this summer was stymied by a resurgence of the virus.

More than 17,000 employees at the airline have already taken buyouts or early retirements, and more than 41,000 volunteered for unpaid leaves earlier this year in response to the pandemic, including thousands of flight attendants.

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