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Merlin recurring FFO drops YOY in Q1; Irish REIT plans London, Dublin listings

* MERLIN Properties logged €70.2 million worth of recurring funds from operations for the first quarter, which translated to a 5.4% dip from the €74.2 million it recorded in the year-ago period. The Spanish real estate investment trust also affirmed its dividend forecast at 50 cents per share for fiscal 2018, marking an increase of 9% year over year.

* Irish real estate investment trust Yew Grove REIT PLC plans to go public on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and the Enterprise Securities Market of Euronext Dublin later in May. Yew Grove will issue shares priced at €1.00 apiece to raise funds for the purchase of a seed portfolio of 10 properties worth €25.9 million.

* British Land Co. PLC signed an agreement for a £735 million, five-year unsecured revolving credit facility at an initial margin of 90 basis points. The facility represents an amendment and extension to a £785 million revolver signed April 2014, which held an initial margin of 115 basis points.

UK and Ireland

* Property Week reported that BSH Home Appliances is close to signing a lease deal for a new 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center at the Midlands Logistics Park in Corby, U.K. The company, which presently occupies a 427,000-square-foot facility at Prologis Park Kettering, is in talks with Mulberry Developments and Frogmore Properties for the potential lease.

* Greenridge Investment Management is selling the Hartshead Square mixed-use commercial property in Sheffield, U.K., for a price tag of £41 million, PW reported. The price for the 300,000-square-foot, fully let asset reflects a net initial yield of 6.36%.

* Automobile giant Rolls-Royce is looking to bring down costs by swapping its headquarters in London's prime district near Buckingham Palace for more economical premises, Bloomberg News reported. The company has leased its current 37,000-square-foot office space at 65 Buckingham Gate since 2014.

Rolls-Royce could shift its office to around the St. Pancras station, the report added.

* Also planning to cut costs by relocating its headquarters is British telecommunication company BT. The company intends to relocate from its current 273,000-square-foot, 10-floor headquarters at 81 Newgate St. in the City of London, PW reported. The strategy is part of the company's plan to target around 30 modern and strategic sites to focus on transforming its working culture, the report added.

* Co-living development company Respublica plans to develop its first mixed-use project in Southwark, London, featuring 300 co-living units and north of 20,000 square feet of shared workspace across two floors, among other facilities, PW reported. The developer is in negotiations with private equity investors to raise approximately £25 million worth of equity for the development.

* Online U.K. commercial real estate platform Property.Works shut down slightly more than two years following its launch in 2015-end after it failed to achieved its expected level of growth, according to PW. The portal had provided information on office, retail or industrial spaces, targeting small and medium-sized businesses as clients.

* Singapore's Oxley Holdings Ltd. and Irish national public transport provider Córas Iompair Éireann have agreed to construct a mixed-use development on 1.96 hectares of land in central Dublin, The (Singapore) Business Times reported. Plans for the project include residential and commercial properties, a hotel and student housing assets, which will be delivered in one or more stages.

Poland

* Globalworth Real Estate Investments Ltd.'s Globalworth Poland Real Estate NV unit entered a deal to pay €139 million for the acquisition of the Quattro Business Park in Krakow. The office complex contains 60,200 square meters of gross leasable area spread across five buildings and is approximately 99% leased.

Czech Republic

* On behalf of its European Logistics Fund, Prologis Inc. purchased the Mountpark Pilsen logistics park in Pilsen from Mountpark Logistics EU, Europe Real Estate reported. The park, which will be renamed Prologis Park Pilsen II, features 43,700 square meters of unoccupied logistics space and three hectares of development land, the report added.

Other real estate news

* A pan-African real estate investment business set up by Growthpoint Properties Ltd. and Investec Asset Management commenced operations after securing more than US$212 million worth of commitments from institutional and international investors. Growthpoint Investec African Properties will focus on income-producing commercial real estate assets in certain cities.

* São Carlos Empreendimentos SA completed the divestment of its 63% stake in the Edifício Morumbi Park building in São Paulo for 137.4 million Brazilian reais to the building's tenant, Avenues São Paulo.

* The New Mexico State Investment Council is considering to boost the proportion of European real estate assets in its portfolio to between 10% and 15% from 7.4% by pouring up to US$100 million a year into the sector, IPE Real Assets reported. The sovereign wealth fund will carry out the investments through its non-core real estate funds.

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Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.

As of May 10, US$1 was equivalent to 3.55 Brazilian reais.