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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc. is redeeming $35 million in callable subordinated investment notes as part of a strategy to simplify its capital structure and reduce outstanding debt.

Effective Aug. 15, the Fort Lauderdale parent of banking, securities and homebuilding subsidiaries is calling notes issued last year with coupon rates ranging from 10% to 11.75% and due to mature between February-September 2002.

Announcement of the redemption follows the successful issue of about 4.5 million new common shares in the Fort Lauderdale company, which raised about $35 million in net proceeds at a price of about $8.50 each.

“When we issued these notes, we offered a high rate of return to the note holders so that we would have the right to redeem the notes at any time,” Alan B. Levan, BankAtlantic chairman and chief executive officer, says in a prepared statement. “In light of the decline in interest rates over the past several quarters, it is prudent for us to retire these notes at this time.”

Shareholders reactive unfavorably to the announcement, as shares in BankAtlantic closed down 23 cents Tuesday at $9.29 on volume of 382,600–just 45 cents off the 52-week high of $9.74. The issue has traded as low as $3 a share over the same time period.

It is uncertain what type of impact the parent’s fiscal strategy will have on its subsidiary operations: BankAtlantic, one of the largest banking organizations in Florida; Ryan, Beck & Co., an underwriting and securities firm; and Levitt Corp., parent of Levitt & Sons and Core Communities, developers of planned suburban communities.

The parent company is forecast to earn 18 cents a share for the second quarter ended June 30, according to the consensus of analysts tracked by Thompson/First Call. The company beat a forecast of 13 cents a share by three cents for the first quarter ended March 31.

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