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CHICAGO-Likely looking to cut debt, General Growth Properties today announced that it is pursuing a comprehensive evaluation of its financial and strategic alternatives, which could include asset sales. The locally based company, led by chairman and CEO John Bucksbaum and Robert Michaels, president and COO, also is developing a plan to generate capital from both core and non-core assets, the sale of joint venture or preferred equity in selected asset pools, a corporate level capital infusion and/or strategic business combinations.

Last week, GGP closed on another phase of its $1.7-billion secured portfolio facility, increasing its outstanding debt under that facility to $1.5 billion. Because this level exceeds the amount necessary to eliminate the reserve requirement, the company increased its initial repayment guaranty to 50% of the outstanding facility. The company currently anticipates that it will be in a position to offer a long-term fixed-rate portfolio mortgage financing to lenders in mid-to-late November, and in the interim will actively pursue several sources of financing for its near-term maturing obligations.

General Growth has ownership interest in or management responsibility for more than 200 regional malls, as well as master-planned communities and office buildings. Occupancy, the company said, reached a record high of 93.2% in the second quarter of 2008 and comparable net operating income continued to increase.

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