PNC Capital Markets has oversubscribed the $150 million line it is providing to Eastgroup Properties and is expecting other retailers to join in the credit. The bank has received commitments totaling $177.5 million, said Mike Thomas, managing director. Lenders were attracted to the Jackson, Miss.,-based real estate investment trust's low leverage, which is at about 37%. Its industrial focus--a more stable sector--was also a factor. "People perceive it to be less risky than office or retail," he said. The deal is expected to close this week and allocation levels will be set on Tuesday.
Commerzbank, Firstar Bank, SouthTrust Bank, AmSouth Bank and Trustmark National Bank have already committed cash, Thomas said, declining to comment on amounts. Upfront fees ranged between 30 and 45 basis points, depending on the size of commitments. PNC acted as lead agent and sole book runner. Other titles will be given out to top-tier lenders, he added.
Pricing on the unsecured line ranges from 105 to 140 basis points depending on leverage. The line currently sits at LIBOR plus 115 basis points, lower than the REIT's current $150 million revolver, which is priced at LIBOR plus 11/ 4%. The REIT's lower leverage levels, increased liquidity and greater asset base contributed to the lower pricing, he explained. The line also includes a covenant that requires its secured debt to represent 40% of its gross assets, an increase from 35% on the previous line.