REIT Specializes in Shopping Malls


CBL & Associates is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that develops and buys shopping centers and malls.

CBL ( CBL ) traces its origins to 1961, but the CBL name goes back to 1978 -- around the time when the company developed its first shopping mall, Plaza del Sol in Del Rio, Texas. The mall opened in March 1979.

CBL went public in 1993. It began acquiring properties in 1995 with the purchase of the WestGate Mall in Spartanburg, S.C. In 2001, CBL acquired 23 properties from Jacobs Group, the most transactions that the company has ever made in a single year.

The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based REIT owns 152 properties, including 92 regional malls and open-air shopping centers in 30 states with 86.7 million square feet, including 7.3 million square feet of shopping centers and malls managed for third parties. Besides its headquarters, CBL has offices in Boston, Dallas and St. Louis.

At the end of July, the company celebrated the grand opening of The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, near Louisville, Ky.Michael Kors ( KORS ),Nike ( NKE ) and Saks Fifth Avenue were among the tenants.

CBL's funds from operation (FFO), the REIT equivalent of earnings, dropped from $3.10 a share in 2008 to $2.05 in 2011. FFO has only partially recovered since then. FFO in 2013 was $2.23, and analysts expect the same this year and $2.24 next year. CBL has a debt-to-equity ratio of 346%.

As CBL's FFO has slid in recent years, so has its dividend, although the dividend has made a partial comeback.

In 2000, CBL paid a quarterly dividend of 51 cents a share. The company raised it to 81.25 by 2005. It fell to a nickel in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis.

CBL announced a quarterly dividend of 24.5 cents Thursday; it works out to a 5.2% annual dividend yield. The dividend will be paid Oct. 15 to shareholders of record Sept. 30.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

Referenced Stocks: CBL , KORS , NKE

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