Simon prepared for acquisitions, exec says

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. has access to $3.5 billion in credit as it anticipates snapping up shopping malls, according to Bloomberg.

Chief Financial Officer Steve Sterrett told Bloomberg that the $1.5 billion of bond positions the company sold last week was used to pay down debt. The resulting improvement to Simon’s balance sheet positions the company to take advantage of acquisitions that might emerge from the distressed real estate market, he said.

Some of those acquisitions likely will focus on malls started before the subprime mortgage crisis caused credit markets to tighten.

“I’m sure there are people who are coming out of the ground with new projects or now can’t finance out of construction debt,” Sterrett was quoted as saying.

However, Sterrett said he couldn’t predict the extent to which Simon would pursue acquisitions. Any action would depend on circumstances, he said.

Simon is the nation’s largest owner of shopping malls.

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