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ATLANTA-Although leasing activity was stronger than expected in 2007, the weak residential market had a dampening effect on results for the fourth quarter and the year, locally based Cousins Properties executives said during a Q4 earnings call Tuesday.

The company reported a $5-million, or 10-cents-per-share, net loss for the quarter. This compares with net income of $38.1 million, or 72 per share, during the same quarter last year. For the year ending Dec. 31, the company reported net income of $17.7 million, or 34 cents per share, versus net income of $217.4 million, or $4.14 per share, net income in 2006.

“As we’ve been expecting for some time, the residential market has weakened. The debt problems in the housing market have impacted the commercial sector,” said Cousins Properties chairman and CEO Tom Bell, during the call. “These factors will certainly make it challenging to pursue other developments in the future.”

With the challenging economic outlook that’s being predicted for 2008, the company plans to focus on leasing existing projects and completing projects that are currently under development. “One large positive from 2007 is the work our team did to manage our capital base, recasting our $500-million credit facility and financing several stabilized projects to ensure the company is well-capitalized heading into 2008,” Bell said. “Over our 50 years, Cousins has weathered many cycles and I believe we are well-positioned to handle this one.”

As of Dec. 31, the company’s portfolio of operational office buildings was 92% leased, its portfolio of operational retail centers was 91% leased and its operational industrial building was 52% leased. The company and its joint ventures had 10 retail, office and industrial projects under development and redevelopment totaling 5.6 million company-owned sf, and three multifamily projects under development containing a total of 737 units, of which 280 were closed by year-end and 35 were closed in January.

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