FRANCE - Icade, a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) in France, is considering selling its entire housing unit.

Serge Grzybowski, chairman and chief executive at Icade, has proposed the firm disposes of all of Icade's residential properties - which at 31 December 2007 were valued at €2.5bn - to one or more social housing investors and then reinvest some of the proceeds in commercial assets.

Speaking during a board of directors meeting on 11 December, Grzybowski, said: "After this operation, Icade would distribute 50% of all the capital gains from the disposal, as is provided by its SIIC (listed property investment company) status. The remainder would provide Icade with considerable leeway as opportunities arise in the commercial sector."

Rémi Lemay, financial and external communication manager at Icade, said the firm is considering selling and reinvesting some time in 2009.

Icade plans to focus on investing in "commercial assets in France" like offices, shopping centres and private clinics and will cease to invest in housing, according to Lemay.

The board of directors unanimously agreed to let Grzybowski consider the implementation of such a strategy as quickly as possible.

Icade's real estate business activities include investment, development and provision of services in the housing, office, business park, commercial real estate, shopping centre and public-health equipment sectors.

Icade had consolidated turnover of €762m and net current cash flow of €112m on 30 June 2008 while the company's total property assets were valued at €6.2bn on 31 December 2007.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Poppy Sketchley on + 44 (0)20 7261 4629 or email