Chattanooga, Tenn. — CBL Properties (NYSE: CBL) will suspend its stock dividends for 2019 and possibly through year-end 2020 in the face of retail bankruptcies, store closures and corporate restructurings of tenants within its portfolio. The Chattanooga-based shopping center and mall owner’s board of directors will review the suspension quarterly but doesn’t expect the dividends to resume in 2020. CBL announced the decision following a review of current taxable income projections for 2019 and 2020. Unpaid dividends on CBL’s preferred stock shall accrue without interest.
The suspension includes CBL’s common stock, 7.375% Series D Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock and 6.625% Series E Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock. CBL’s stock price fell in the wake of the announcement, going from $1.36 per share Monday afternoon to 93 cents per share Tuesday morning, then steadily rose to $1.03 for Thursday’s opening.
Stephen Lebovitz, CBL’s CEO, says that the REIT has tried to shore up operating costs the past 18 months through reducing executive compensation and capital expenditures, as well as bringing on joint venture partners. Lebovitz expects the company’s net operating income to decline in 2020.