EUROPE - Prologis has sold 13 UK logistics assets - 10 of them from its listed Prologis European properties (PEPR) fund and the remaining three owned by the group - to Blackstone for $335m (€242m).
PEPR sold its assets to the private equity group for €180m in a bid to reduce its debt. The assets, located in the Midlands and the north of England, are fully occupied on average nine-year leases.
PEPR said it would continue to focus on core assets in areas where it has critical mass, and pointed to the return of its investment-grade credit rating as evidence of the success of the deleveraging strategy.
Blackstone has been, with Lone Star, the private equity group most associated with distressed assets, recently raising $6bn for a distressed real estate fund.
However, a spokeswoman for PEPR denied that the UK assets sold to Blackstone came within this category, although she acknowledged they no longer fitted ProLogis's pan-European focus on high-quality assets linked to transport hubs.
The disposal decision had been made on a case-by-case basis, she added. The fact that all the assets sold happened to be in the UK did not reflect the group's broader view of the UK logistics market.
PEPR hit controversy last year when APG sold its shares after failing to take over the listed fund on behalf of a consortium of pension fund investors. The Dutch pension fund manager, identifying a potential conflict of interest, had sought to remove a clause that effectively gave ProLogis, a 92% shareholder in the fund, a veto over any attempt to remove it as manager.