Social Icons Superfish

Nearly 40 million Americans invest in REITs

Gellerstedt Hoping for Acquisitions in Next Year

07/08/2010 | By REIT.com

A key achievement in his first year on the job has been lowering Cousins Properties Inc.'s (NYSE: CUZ) leverage, according to Larry Gellerstedt, the company's president and CEO.

Gellerstedt notes Cousins Properties' has taken "aggressive steps" to shore up its balance sheet in the last year, including an equity offering and a variety of cost-cutting measures. The moves have brought the company's leverage ratio down from 70 percent to nearly 40 percent, with plans to de-leverage even further in the future.

New development is on hold, Gellerstedt says, and Cousins Properties has shifted its attention to a subdued transactions market.

"We've all been frustrated and surprised by two things," Gellerstedt says. "One is how slow the opportunities have come to market, and, two, the amount of capital sitting on the sidelines in anticipation of those acquisitions."