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MIP Will Not Give Out 4th-Quarter Dividends


NEWPORT BEACH — MIP Properties Inc., a Newport Beach real estate investment trust, said Thursday that it would not pay stockholders a fourth-quarter dividend and may put itself up for sale.

The company blamed its troubles on the slow real estate market and several non-earning loans it has made, including one $11-million loan to a partnership the company belongs to and that developed an industrial building in San Dimas. That building was vacant for more than a year before a third of it was recently leased, the company said.

A $12-million loan went to a developer who bought land in San Diego and is now in bankruptcy.

The company has since got out of the mortgage-lending business to concentrate solely on investing in real estate.

The company recently reported profits of $2 million for the first nine months of the year, down from $3.7 million last year.

MIP's directors voted Thursday to hire Merrill Lynch Capital Markets to advise the company on whether to seek a merger partner, restructure or sell itself. The stock closed Thursday at $1.75 a share, up 12.5 cents in American Stock Exchange trading.

The company said it was omitting the fourth-quarter dividend so it could continue to run its portfolio of small office and industrial buildings around the state, which it says are still sound investments even though leasing has slowed in those markets.

The company is also trying to repay $36 million in debt, equal to almost half the company's $76 million in equity. And it is cutting back operating costs.

MIP has been advised for the past year by Koll Realty Advisors, a subsidiary of The Koll Co., the giant Newport Beach-based developer.

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