CarrAmerica Realty Corp. is postponing the spinoff of its executive suites company because of a weak market for such stocks, the company said.
District-based CarrAmerica originally said in May that its HQ Global Workplaces unit would conduct an initial public offering of its stock in an attempt to realize value that management felt wasn't being recognized because of the weak condition of real estate stocks.
But conditions for a spinoff are bad now, too, the company said. "The IPO market for business services companies has been soft for the last couple months. And frankly, HQ is doing extremely well, and the company saw no reason to compromise its value because of short-term market conditions," said CarrAmerica chief executive Thomas Carr.
In its announcement, released late Wednesday evening, CarrAmerica said it is continuing to evaluate the possibility of proceeding with the offering in the future.
Most of CarrAmerica's business consists of developing and owning office buildings throughout the United States. It has also invested more than $300 million in HQ, which rents out temporary office space around the world. CarrAmerica has declined to put a value on the possible HQ offering but has said that when the company eventually does go public it will continue to own 40 percent to 60 percent of it.
Analyst Christopher Haley of First Union Capital Markets called the CarrAmerica decision "prudent."
CarrAmerica, he said, is not under pressure to complete the spinoff, "so we actually think it's a positive that the company is taking its time and will continue to try to look at more ways of creating value for shareholders."
The decision is "marginally disappointing," said Brenda Woods, an analyst at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, "but I think the market has been expecting this for some time."
She said, "It's a tough market out there, particularly for small caps," that is, stocks of companies with relatively small overall market value.
CarrAmerica's stock closed at $22.62 1/2, off 6 1/4 cents, yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.
CAPTION: CEO Thomas Carr: "The company saw no reason to compromise its value."