09/14/2012 | by
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W.P. Carey & Co. LLC (NYSE: WPC) announced Sept. 14 that it will officially complete its conversion to a REIT on Sept. 28.

"We are excited to reach this milestone in W.P. Carey's history," said Trevor P. Bond, president and CEO of W.P. Carey.

Bond said he anticipates that as a result of the move, the company will significantly increase its real estate assets, grow dividends and diversify its shareholder base with both "active and passive REIT investors." Having been limited by its current structure, size and business model, Bond said the conversion allows the company to increase visibility and enjoy easier access to capital.

"With a larger balance sheet and greater flexibility to access capital for growth, we are well positioned to capitalize on new opportunities that are consistent with our established investment parameters and enhance shareholder value," said Bond.

Immediately following the conversion, the company will merge with Corporate Property Associates 15 Inc. (CPA: 15), one of its publicly held, non-traded REIT affiliates. Once completed, W.P. Carey Inc., the successor of W.P. Carey & Co. LLC,  will have a total market capitalization of approximately $5 billion and a portfolio of more than 39 million square feet of real estate leased to more than 130 companies globally. It will continue to manage the Corporate Property Associates series of publicly held, non-traded REITs.

W.P. Carey also announced its 46th consecutive distribution increase. The company's board of directors established a dividend for the third quarter of 2012of $0.65 per share. It represents a 15 percent increase over the second quarter.

Bond originally announced that its board of directors had approved the conversion to a REIT in February 2012. However, the conversion and planned acquisition was subject to the approval of W. P. Carey shareholders and stockholders of Corporate Property Associates.