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GGP Strikes Back at Debt Critics

In light of the debt troubles at Centro Properties Group, General Growth Properties has become the subject of rumors that it too would have problems refinancing its debt. As a result, its stock price has plummeted. But the company responded to that speculation with a strong statement in late January. For one, the firm during the past few months has announced a steady stream of new debt arrangements on lines of credit or loans expiring this year. For example, on January 17 GGP announced a new loan worth $150 million to replace an existing mortgage loan worth $108 million. Secondly, its leverage ratios, in fact, are not nearly as high as Centro's and it is also not carrying short-term debt related to buyouts. Whereas Centro had leverage levels worth up to 75 percent of the company's market capitalization, GGP's are in the 50 percent range. Lastly, the company has never defaulted on any of its loans.

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