Corrections Corp. of America will move ahead with its plans to convert to a real estate investment trust after receiving a positive indication from Internal Revenue Service officials.
The move comes after CCA executives recently said they were moving forward with the plan, which will lower the company's taxes and require it to pay out 90 percent of its profits as dividends. As part of the move, the company will pay a special dividend to distribute previously accumulated profits. CCA officials say they expect that cash-and-stock payout to be between $650 million and $700 million, which is down from their previous estimate of $700 million to $750 million.
"The REIT structure will create additional opportunities for shareholder value creation," said President and CEO Damon Hininger. "Additionally, our customers will experience no change in the people, procedures or high quality of service they have come to expect from CCA, nor will the conversion affect our employees."
As part of the conversion and dividend process, CCA plans to refinance its $465 million of senior notes that carry an interest rate of 7.75 percent and could also look to amend its $785 million revolving credit facility. The company also plans to issue new debt to fund the 20 percent cash part of the special dividend. In a statement, execs said they are "highly confident in [their] ability to execute these transactions in 2013 given the Company's modest leverage, strong balance sheet and strong historical support from the credit markets."
Shares of CCA (Ticker: CXW) were down 4 percent to $37.45 in pre-market trading Friday. They're up 26 percent in the past six months.