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In order to trim down its variable bank rate borrowings, Mississippi based real estate investment trust (REIT), EastGroup Properties (EGP - Snapshot Report) announced it had closed an unsecured term loan worth $80.0 million. The term loan, which is scheduled to mature after six years, bears an annual interest rate equivalent to LIBOR plus 1.90%.

The company also entered into an interest rate swap to convert the term loan LIBOR rate to a fixed interest rate. The transaction will provide the EastGroup a fixed interest rate of 2.92% per annum as of closing.

On a separate development, EastGroup declared the acquisition of a distribution building -- Wiegman Distribution Center II -- located in California, for $7.5 million. The 100% leased, property in Hayward spans 84,000 square feet. The acquisition transaction points to the fact that the company’s overall property span in San Francisco area will cover over $1.0 million square feet.

EastGroup engages in the development, acquisition and operation of industrial properties in major Sunbelt markets across the United States mainly in supply-constrained submarkets of Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and North Carolina. The company‘s growth strategy is mainly based on acquiring leading distribution facilities located near major transportation centers, for catering local customers.

As of June 30, 2012, the company’s debt-to-total market capitalization ratio was 33.8% and it had total debt of $795.0 million. EastGroup’s portfolio currently includes properties spanning over 30.5 million square feet of space situated across major markets of U.S.

The company, which competes with Lexington Realty Trust (LXP - Snapshot Report), carries a Zacks #3 Rank signifying a short-term Hold rating. We presently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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