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Photography by Erin O. Smith / CBL & Associates CEO Stephen Lebovitz

A year to the day after the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic forced CBL Properties to file for bankruptcy, the Chattanooga-based shopping center developer emerged from its Chapter 11 reorganization Monday with what company CEO Stephen Lebovtiz said is "a fresh start."

CBL said it reduced its debt and preferred obligations by $1.7 billion in the past year and will begin trading a new common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday under a significantly improved capital structure.

"This is a huge day for CBL," said Lebovitz, who is heading a new board of directors for the revamped company. "Our centers, and the industry, have benefited from a strong rebound in traffic, sales and tenant demand. As a result, we see unique opportunities for CBL utilizing our operational expertise coupled with our enhanced cash flow and improved capital structure."

CBL, which was founded by Charles B. Lebovitz in 1978 and has been publicly traded since 1993, developed and owns both the Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in Chattanooga along with more than 100 other retail properties across the country.

The post-restructuring balance sheet includes a new $883.7 million secured term loan, $455 million of new secured notes bearing interest at 10% and $150 million of new convertible secured notes bearing interest at 7%, including $50 million funded by new money which CBL will use to redeem a portion of its 10% notes.

All existing common and preferred shares were canceled as part of the bankruptcy reorganization. Existing common shareholders and common unit holders will each receive their pro rata share of 5.5% in the newly reorganized company and existing preferred shareholders will each receive their pro rata share of 5.5% common equity in the newly reorganized company which will have approximately 20 million diluted shares outstanding.

As previously announced, the newly issued shares are expected to begin trading Tuesday on the NYSE under the symbol "CBL."

"Our improved cost structure, disciplined approach to capital investment and diverse portfolio of freestanding outparcels, open-air shopping centers and market-dominant malls, along with our talented team, position CBL to generate robust free cash flow and generate significant shareholder value," Lebovitz said.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner who may be reached at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340

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