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HOUSTON-Despite the floundering economy, Weingarten Realty’s Q3 figures remain strong. During the quarterly conference call on Oct. 31, executives say current liquidity means dividends and debt service aren’t hampered.

Weingarten’s EVP and CFO Stephen C. Richter points out that given the economic situation, “our portfolio performed well in a different environment.” He notes that part of the reason is a stress test that the REIT’s portfolio undergoes to determine what might happen in an underperforming market. “Even at an 84% occupancy, we can pay all our obligations, including debt service and dividends,” he comments. “I remind folks we’ve never been below 90% occupancy in our operations.” Q3 occupancy was 93.7% versus 93.6% in the Q2 2008.

Richter adds that close to $100 million raised through the issuance of three million common shares of stock during the quarter, combined with $185 million under revolving lines of credit and an unencumbered asset pool of $3.4 billion of historical cost, puts the company in a good position to “take advantage of opportunities that might arise in this challenging economy.” Also adding to the company’s liquidity are strong banking relationships, he notes.

What those opportunities might be was not clarified, however. The executives involved in the call did say the company is still putting together its 2009 business plan, and more information should be forthcoming at the year-end 2009 conference call.

Meanwhile, “acquisitions-wise, we’re not looking at too much of anything,” says Andrew M. Alexander, Weingarten president and CEO. “Disposition-wise, there are some things we have working.” On the development side, the REIT has 30 properties in development totaling a $390 million investment. Alexander points out that 11 of those projects are running at 83% occupancy, with the total pipeline at 65% occupancy. During Q3, the company’s management postponed three development projects.

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