UK - LaSalle Investment Management has bought a The Howard Centre UK shopping centre from Land Securities on behalf of Coal Pension Properties, the real estate arm of the British Coal Schemes Pension Plan.

Property company LandSecs exchanged contracts for the sale of its long leasehold interest in The Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire for approximately £48m (€53.5m) reflecting a yield of 7.65%.

Built in 1990, the 230,000 sq ft shopping centre provides a net annual rental income of approximately £3.9m and is anchored by a Marks & Spencer store.

Other major occupiers include retailers WH Smith, Boots, Next, Monsoon and Top Shop together with three catering units.

The centre is arranged on two levels, the upper level benefiting from direct access from Welwyn Garden City mainline rail station and has a multilevel fully enclosed car park with 725 spaces.

"We are very pleased to have secured this well-let, quality investment," said Richard Debney, regional director at LaSalle.

The transaction follows a number of disposals by LandSecs, but the UK property company said the Howard Centre deal is likely to be one of the last in its current cycle.

"This is an opportunistic sale of one of our smaller shopping centre assets and one of the last property sales to be finalised," said Richard Akers, managing director at Land Securities Retail.

"As we have indicated, the Group's focus has now turned to the pursuit of acquisitions and the progression of our development pipeline and the funds generated from this transaction will support this objective," he added.