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RALEIGH, NC-Highwoods Properties Inc., the Southeast’s largest office landlord, says it expects to net $195.2 million from its underwritten offering of 5.5 million shares of common stock. The offering, for which no per-share price was disclosed, is expected to occur by the end of this week, with Morgan Stanley & Co. handling the issue.

In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Highwoods said that it intends to use the proceeds to pay down part of its $450-million unsecured revolving credit facility. The company says it may use revolving credit to settle other outstanding debt, including a $50-million unsecured loan maturing Feb. 1, 2009, as well as a $120-million secured loan coming due next November.

Proceeds may also be used as “dry powder” for future development and acquisition opportunities, says Tabitha Zane, Highwoods’ vice president of investor relations. Other purposes include retiring outstanding preferred stock, working capital and other general corporate purposes, she says.

Highwoods, based in Raleigh, is a self-administered REIT with 35 million sf of office, industrial and retail properties in ten states throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Shares of HIW closed at $35.75 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Last week, Fitch Ratings affirmed its “stable” outlook for Highwoods based on its strong commercial real estate portfolio. The firm noted that Highwoods’ revenue has grown by at least 16% since 2005.

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