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Cominar REIT eyes C$1.14B from sale of noncore portfolio

Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust agreed to divest its entire noncore market property portfolio of 97 assets, spanning 6.2 million square feet, to Slate Acquisitions Inc. for gross proceeds of C$1.14 billion.

The move is part of the company's plan to reduce debt and focus on its core markets in Québec and Ottawa.

The portfolio comprises 37 office, 37 industrial and mixed-use and 23 retail assets, of which 24 are in the greater Toronto area, 59 in the Atlantic provinces and 14 in western Canada.

About 10% of the portfolio consists of land and properties under development. The overall capitalization rate of the income-producing assets is estimated to be at 6.2%.

The buyer will assume about C$107.1 million of mortgage debt. Cominar will repay C$164.5 million of mortgage debt, as well as recognize a fair value write down of roughly C$275 million related to assets in western Canada and the non-income-producing assets, it said in a release.

Cominar intends to use the net proceeds from the sale to repay the about C$875 million outstanding amount on its credit facility.

The board of the company authorized an increase in its normal course issuer bid program up to a maximum of 17.6 million outstanding units, up from 9.0 million units originally approved by the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The deal is expected to close by the end of March 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.