Duke raising cash to pay down debt-WEB ONLY

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Duke Realty Corp. announced today that it raised $218 million in the first quarter through asset sales and financing maneuvers in an effort to pay down debt.

The Indianapolis-based real estate company gained $156 million through the 10-year secured-debt financing of some of its suburban office and industrial properties.

It also sold two office buildings totaling 381,000 square feet in suburban St. Louis and 14 acres of land for about $61 million.

“Liquidity is the most important short-term priority for the company,” Duke CEO Dennis D. Oklak said in a statement announcing the moves. “These transactions have generated significant liquidity and further strengthened our balance sheet.”

The company said the proceeds of the transactions will be used to reduce “near-term maturing debt.”

Duke shares fell 13 cents this morning, to 6.84 each.

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