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ORLANDO-Locally based Commercial Net Lease Realty Inc., which boasts it has increased annual per-share dividends for 13 consecutive years, has negotiated a new unsecured credit facility with nine lenders for $225 million, up from $200 million.

The new line of credit has an extended maturity to May 2006 and provides for a competitive bid option for up to 50% of the facility amount. CNLR was able to reduce the facility’s interest rate to LIBOR, plus 100 basis points.

“Maintaining borrowing capacity and financial flexibility, while reducing pricing and renewing this facility several months early is an important accomplishment for the company,” says CNLR executive vice president and chief financial officer Kevin B. Habicht. He says the banks’ decision to upgrade the facility shows they have “continued support and confidence in the company.”

Wachovia Securities Inc. acted as the sole lead arranger and book manager for the facility. Titled agents were Wachovia Bank NA, administrative agent; Wells Fargo Bank NA, syndication agent; and AmSouth and SunTrust Bank, documentation agents.

Other participating lenders were Bank of America, Comerica Inc., Chevy Chase Bank, PNC Bank and CitiCorp North America Inc.

Commercial Net Lease Realty is “emerging as the industry leader in single-tenant corporate net leased real estate,” CNLR president Gary M. Ralston tells GlobeSt.com. “Real estate is a capital intensive business and CNLR has significant capital access.” Ralston says CNLR is “a $1 billion-plus and growing public company with an impressive track record.”

Ralston says the REIT is “one of only 228 public companies that have paid increased dividends for 13 years.” Over the past one, three, five and 10 years, CNLR has “outperformed the industry indices, such as NAREIT and RMS, as well as the S&P 500.”

CNLR directors May 15 approved a quarterly dividend on its 9% Series A non-voting preferred stock of 56.25 cents per share, payable June 13 to holders of record on May 30. The dividend represents an annualized rate of $2.25 per share.

Commercial Net Lease Realty owns, either directly or through investment interests, 345 properties in 39 states with total gross leasable area of about 6.7 million sf. The properties are leased to 117 retailers in 43 lines of trade.

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