REAL ESTATE

Donahue Schriber completes $1.2 billion recapitalization

BY Staff Writer

Costa Mesa, Calif. — Costa Mesa, Calif.-based shopping center developer Donahue Schriber announced it has successfully completed the final piece of a $1.2 billion balance sheet recapitalization.

The recapitalization occurred through several transactions. The final piece was a $365 million refinance with a bank syndicate led by Bank of America and also included Wells Fargo Bank, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, Union Bank and City National Bank.

The loan refinances a portfolio of 31 of Donahue Schriber Realty Group’s assets encompassing grocery-anchored and power centers across California, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada. The new financing has a term of five years with a built-in option for a two-year extension, a lower interest rate and eliminates many restrictive covenants. Utilizing assistance from Chatham Financial, the company also locked in a LIBOR swap of $255 million as a hedge against potential rising interest rates. The transaction results in an annual interest savings in excess of $6 million.

In addition, the Company’s major investors, the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and the J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Strategic Property Fund, converted their $188 million of preferred stock and accrued dividends into shares of common stock. They have also committed to provide the company $100 million of additional common capital for future growth opportunities. Included in the recapitalization total is the $248,545,000 ten-property refinance with Allstate Life Insurance Co. that closed May 31, 2011.

The recapitalization is described by Donahue Schriber Chairman and CEO Patrick S. Donahue as one of the most important events in the company’s 42-year history. “The Bank of America loan restructure is the last big piece of putting the company’s balance sheet in order, securing our position as a leader in the retail real estate industry. We could not have done any of this without the confidence and support of our Major Shareholders, NYSTRS and J.P. Morgan Strategic Fund. We’re grateful to them, to Bank of America and to the other banks in the syndication that share our vision,” said Donahue.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart’s path into India may be getting easier

BY Staff Writer

New Delhi, India — A Monday report by Bloomberg said that an Indian governmental panel recommended easing market-entry restrictions, making Wal-Mart Stores’ and Carrefour SA’s path into the India retail market potentially much easier.

Citing a finance ministry official as its source, Bloomberg reported that a panel of New Delhi bureaucrats recommended on Friday that overseas companies be allowed to own up to 51% of stores that sell more than one brand if they invest a minimum of $100 million.

“It would get in new players to the market — you’d have more efficiencies coming in,” Abhishek Ranganathan, a Mumbai-based analyst at MF Global Sify Securities Pvt., told Bloomberg. “What something like a Wal-Mart or a Carrefour can actually bring to the table in terms of knowledge, back-end systems and supply-chain efficiencies can help Indian retailers they choose to partner with.”

India currently allows overseas companies 51% ownership in retail shops selling only one brand and 100% in wholesale stores.

No timeline on a ruling on the new recommendation has been announced.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart OKs 90-day filing extension on gender-bias case

BY Staff Writer

San Francisco — Wal-Mart Stores said Friday it agreed that women planning potential gender-bias suits, after a group lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court, should get an extra 90 days to file their cases. Opposing lawyers are seeking to extend the filing deadline by 120 days.

According to Bloomberg on Friday, Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous told a federal judge in San Francisco that the company isn’t opposed to “start the clock fresh” on potential gender-bias claims that were blocked from being filed while Wal-Mart challenged the legality of the group lawsuit, the largest private gender-bias case — numbering over a million workers — in U.S. history.

The ruling is expected within the next day or two about whether or not to give potential plaintiffs until Oct. 20, the date favored by Wal-Mart, or Jan. 16, the date favored by lawyers representing current and former workers, to file new cases.

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