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ATLANTA-Under a strategic plan to enhance shareholder value, locally based Lodgian Inc. is planning to implement share purchases and a cost reduction initiative which would save the company $4 million to $4.5 million annually. The developments are part of an initiative that the company began on Jan. 22 to explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. The company hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Genesis Capital LLC to explore alternatives under the initiative.

The company’s board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $30 million of its common stock over a period ending no later than Aug. 22, 2009. The company, led by president and CEO, Edward J. Rohling, warned that the repurchases may continue while the company explores other strategic initiatives, including the sale of the company.

The cost reduction initiatives include downsizing corporate office staff and consolidating its five current operating regions into two regions. The restructuring was completed on Aug. 23. The company will take a charge of $1 million associated with the cost reduction initiative in the third quarter.

The initiative came on the heels of the company’s decision to reconfigure its portfolio by selling 27 of the 71 hotels currently in its portfolio. The sales of the hotels are expected to generate proceeds of $115 million to $122 million. Since Nov. 1, 23 of those hotels have been sold for an aggregate price of $83.9 million. In addition, the company acquired the 50% interest of its joint venture partner in the Crowne Plaza–Melbourne, FL hotel, which includes about seven acres of undeveloped land across the street from the hotel, for $13.5 million.

As of July 31, the company had consolidated long-term obligations of $376 million, including $4.1 million relating to held-for-sale assets and unrestricted cash balances and cash equivalents of $82.9 million.

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