ProLogis Closes $105M Refi, Extension of Global Line of Credit

Just weeks after promising to do all it could to refinance or renegotiate maturing debt, ProLogis has closed on a $105.8 million financing of a Chinese tranche in its global line of credit. ProLogis, the world’s largest developer/owner of distribution facilities, said the deal has two components, a $36.4 million term loan and a $69.4 million revolver, according to the Denver-based REIT. The proceeds will be used to refinance the $105.6 million tranche of the company’s global line of credit, which was due to mature in May 2009, and for general corporate purposes. The financing was secured with a syndicate of four banks: Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland/ABN AMRO, Sumitomo Mitsui and Bank of China. The pricing is 110 percent of the applicable People’s Bank of China base rate and the facility will mature on Nov. 28, 2011, ProLogis officials said in a release. “ProLogis has had long-standing relationships with all the banks in this syndicate,” Bill Sullivan, ProLogis CFO, said in the statement. “It is the strength of those relationships that give us confidence in our goal to refinance our near-term debt maturities quickly.” As reported by CPN on Nov. 14, ProLogis announced a multi-pronged plan of action to get the company back on track following a 78 percent drop in its stock price within a month. On Nov. 12, the REIT announced its CEO & chairman for the past four years, Jeffrey Schwartz, had resigned. He was replaced as CEO by Walter Rakowich, the company’s former president & COO. A day later, in an effort to assuage concerns of investors, the company outlined its strategy, which included deleveraging the balance sheet, minimizing risk in the business model and downsizing the company. Rakowich said the REIT would cut a planned dividend of $2.28 per share to $1.00 for 2009, and would eliminate development starts and land acquisitions. Renegotiating debt maturities is also part of that strategy. On Nov. 25, after Standard & Poor’s Rating Services downgraded ProLogis’ corporate credit rating to BBB- with a negative outlook, the company quickly issued a statement saying it was disappointed in S&P’s decision to make that decision before it could act on its plans to reduce debt by $2 billion by the end of next year. “We believe that these strategies, when fully implemented, will enable us to meet all our financial obligations, deal with the difficult conditions in the financial sector and the global economy, and ultimately justify a return to a more appropriate credit rating,” Sullivan, the ProLogis CFO, stated on Nov. 25. Sullivan added that while disappointed in S&P’s downgrade, the company felt the “change in rating will not affect our ability to draw on or extend our senior credit facilities into 2010.” Investors may have been encouraged by the refinancing of the China tranche. ProLogis’ stock price, which had dropped from a high of $71.79 earlier this year to a low of $2.20, was moving up in trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shortly after 12:30 Eastern Standard Time, on Tuesday, the stock was trading at $3.25 per share, up 72 cents, or 28.46 percent from its previous close at $2.53 per share. ProLogis had $40.8 billion in assets owned, managed or under development at Sept. 30, 2008. It had 548 million square feet of space in 2,898 facilities in 137 markets across North America, Europe and Asia.