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Posted by zeakster on November 13, 2008

Glenbrook owner eyes bankruptcy
General Growth Properties has $958M in debt due Dec. 1.

of The News-Sentinel

The Illinois company that owns Glenbrook Square warned this week that its debt coming due next month and through 2009 could force it to declare bankruptcy. Investors responded by dumping their stock in General Growth Properties and wiping out 75 percent of its already paltry stock value Wednesday. General Growth stock closed Wednesday at 35 cents a share, down from its opening of $1.37 a share. The company’s stock peaked at more than $60 per share early in 2007, but its price has fallen 98.8 percent this year.

In a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, General Growth Properties disclosed that it has $958 million in debt scheduled to mature by Dec. 1 and another $3.07 billion in debt coming due in 2009.

“In the event that we are unable to extend or refinance our debt or obtain additional capital on a timely basis and on acceptable terms, we will be required to take further steps to acquire the funds necessary to satisfy our short-term cash needs, including seeking legal protection from our creditors,” it said in the filing. The company also said that worsening economic conditions may hurt it.

“We expect this weakness to continue and worsen in 2009 as the economy enters a recessionary or near-recessionary period. Consumer spending recently declined for the first time in 17 years, the unemployment rate is expected to rise, consumer confidence has decreased dramatically, and the stock market remains extremely volatile. Given these expected economic conditions, we believe there is a … risk that the sales of stores operating in our centers will decrease, negatively affecting their ability to make minimum rent payments and increasing the risk of tenant bankruptcies,” it said.

General Growth Properties says its primary business is operating, developing, buying and managing rental properties, primarily shopping centers, located mostly in the United States. It also has assets in Brazil, Turkey and Costa Rica. Additionally, it develops and sells land for long-term master planned community projects.

General Growth bought the Glenbrook property, 4201 Coldwater Road, for $219 million in 2003.



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