REAL ESTATE - The BBC's pension fund in the UK has denied that last week's sale of 60,000 square foot of real estate on a northeast English industrial estate reflected a tactical move away from industrial as an asset sub-class.

The fund sold part of its investment in the West Chirton North industrial estate, in Newcastle, to a fund launched recently by property trader Safeland and private equity firm Electra Partners. The fund, understood to be worth £200m (€304m), will invest in industrial and office let on short leases - up to five years - to small businesses.

BBC pensions investment adviser Peter Dunscombe said the divestment did not reflect industrial falling out of favour. "That part of the portfolio is managed on a discretionary basis," he said. "It involved a small number of individual units that were expensive to manage. It's not strategic. It's part of a larger estate, much of which we've retained."

He added that the decision to sell came from third-party portfolio managers, with no interference from the fund.

"When you hire a third-party fund manager, you let them buy and sell and make their own decisions. We don't spend our time discussing with them what they buy and sell. I knew they were doing it; I knew they kept other parts of the same portfolio; but it's up to them."