UK – James Wilson, managing director at US private equity firm Boston Ventures, is to head the spun-off investment arm of developer London Merchant Securities.

LMS said it plans to demerge its investment division – Investco – from its property investment and development business.

The move would allow LMS to consider taking advantage of the advent of more tax efficient property vehicles, LMS added

“The proposed transaction will create separate publicly quoted investment and property businesses, each well placed to pursue their individual strategies and progress their operational development,” LMS said.

The move would provide flexibility for the two firms to “manage their assets and pursue strategies appropriate to their markets, which have different characteristics and opportunities”. It would also enable balance sheets to be restructured.

Boston Ventures’ co-founder James Wilson, a non-executive of LMS, would become chief executive of Investco.

More details would be provided in first quarter of 2006.

First-half pre-tax profit rose to £56.1m (€82.3m) from 2004’s £15.5m. The value of properties rose 7.7% to £1.1bn.