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Unite Group CEO leaving for St. Modwen; UK housing trio in talks for £30B merger

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Unite Group CEO leaving for St. Modwen; UK housing trio in talks for £30B merger

*St. Modwen PropertiesPlc saidit appointed Mark Allan CEO with effect from Dec. 1. Allan will join the groupas CEO designate on Nov. 1. The appointment follows current CEO Bill Oliver'sdeparture plansannounced in early February.

Allanjoins St. Modwen from Unite GroupPlc, where he will remain in an advisory role until Oct. 31,according to a newsrelease. Richard Smith will take over as CEO of Unite Group, effective July1.

* Anew housing organization worth an estimated £30 billion is expected to emergeas merger talks have commenced between L&Q, Hyde Group and East Thames, L&Qsaid.The new association would be able to build 100,000 new homes in London and the southeastU.K. over 10 years with a £25 billion investment. The proposed merger has beenwelcomed by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, L&Q said.

L&QCEO David Montague is the CEO designate of the new organization while HydeGroup's CEO, Elaine Bailey, is deputy CEO designate. East Thames will become asubsidiary of the new group.

The London EveningStandard, PropertyWeek and London's FinancialTimes also reported on the news.

*The Bank of Italy is proposing a sale of €8.5 billion of nonperforming loansfrom four Italian banks, EuroPropertyreported.The loan values have been written down by 83%, indicating that the portfoliocould sell for around €1.5 billion, either as a whole, in parts, or assecuritization, according to advisers. The report noted that Italian banks areestimated to have up to €350 billion in nonperforming loans on their balancesheets.

UK and Ireland

*Hong Kong-based Pacific Eagle is close to making its U.K. real estate debutafter inking a deal to acquire the 71 Queen Victoria St. office property in theCity of London from a private Israeli investor for around £220 million, PW reported.The 200,000-square-foot property is held on a long leasehold.

*SEGRO Plc it is teaming up withBarratt London for regeneration work on the former Nestle plant in Hayes, WestLondon. The agreement, subject to planning permission, includes the developmentof more than 1,000 homes and 230,000 square feet of industrial and logisticsspace.

*The British Airways Pension Fund and db Symmetry are close to signing up globalfood delivery company HelloFresh for a 237,000-square-foot speculativedeveloped distribution hub and warehouse in Oxfordshire, CoStar U.K. reported,citing market sources.

*Hedge fund manager Man Group Plc is moving into real estate and has hiredStuart Webster to lead a real estate investment unit, Bloomberg News reported,citing an emailed confirmation from the group.

* Ina letter to the Evening Standard,compiled by business group London First, more than 50 business leaders have warnedthat the U.K. housing crisis is threatening London's key business sectorsincluding the technology and creative industries, as the businesses face increasingdifficulties in recruiting and retaining staff amid spiking property prices andrents.

*Tristan Capital Partners has nabbed two retail parks in Northern Ireland onbehalf of its European Property Investors Special Opportunities 4 fund for €55million, PW reported.The assets include the fully let 392,682-square-foot Junction One in Antrim andthe 204,354-square-foot The OUTLET on the outskirts of Banbridge.

*According to CBRE Ireland statistics, the Irish market saw 28 developmenttransactions worth more than €350 million during the first three months of2016, Property Magazine Internationalreported.

Germany

*North German landesbank HSH Nordbank has provided "two-digit-million"financing to developer Becken for a 5,900-square-meter plot in centralFrankfurt, Property Investor Europe reported,citing a news release from the bank. A €200 million three-tower residential-ledproject, dubbed Three Sisters, is planned for the site. Completion of the52,000-square-meter development is slated for 2019, the report said.

*According to a study by Roland Berger and German HVB bank, the Germanconstruction sector is set for 1.5% annual growth until 2020, aided by urbanization,digitalization and demographic factors, PIEreported.

France

*New York-based Northwood Investors LLC agreed to sell a 25% stake in to Singapore's sovereignwealth fund, GIC, for €35.65 per share.

Followingthe completion of the deal, Northwood Investors will hold a 57.48% stake in theFrench REIT. Northwood Investors had earlier sold CeGeREAL shares to preserveCeGeREAL's SIIC status, which allows for certain tax exemptions in France. Thesale to GIC is that last step in that effort.

*U.S.-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.has acquired Frenchretail real estate consultant Véronique Nocquet. The consultant providescustomized real estate services in retail in Paris and across France. The termsof the acquisition were not disclosed.

* LaBanque Postale Asset Management has raised €533 million from institutionalinvestors and launched two new real estate and infrastructure debt funds, PIE reported.

Spain

*Betting on Spain's economic recovery, Mexico's Carlos Slim, as well as fellowbillionaires George Soros and Bill Gates are increasing their real estateinvestments in Spain, a Bloomberg News reportsaid. Slim is in the process of acquiring Spanish builder Fomento deConstrucciones & Contratas SA, or FCC, along with a bid for another developer, , in which FCC ownsa 37% stake.

Thereport noted that a Gates-owned company has a 5.7% stake in FCC, citing thewebsite of CNMV Spain's market regulator, while Soros' Quantum Partners LP hasalso invested in Spanish REITs.

*According to a leaked report published in ElPais, the Madrid government's audit agency has raised competition andtransparency objections on the former city council's sales of subsidized flatsto private equity investors including U.S.-based in 2013, Reuters reported.A €128.5 million sale was said to be undervalued, and Blackstone Group andpartner Magic Real Estate bought more than 1,800 properties from the council atthe time.

* A€6 billion regeneration project at Castellana Norte, on the northern fringes ofMadrid, is facing approval delays from the city's new leftwing government,according to an FT report.The developer, Distrito Castellana Norte, is majority-owned by Spain's second-largestbank, BBVA, and the contract to build on the site expires at year-end. Agovernment councilor says the city presently has 2 million square meters ofvacant office space, and the additional 1.5 million square meters proposed bythe project could cause problems, the newspaper added.

*Home prices in Spain increased by 1.4% year over year during the first quarter,led by 8.2% and 7% boosts in the Catalonia region and Madrid, respectively, PIE reported,citing valuation company Tinsa.

Russia

*Real estate investments in Russia are predicted to reach nearly $4 billionmarking a 74% increase in 2016, after first quarter investments almost doubledto hit $982 million, compared to $499 million in the year-ago period, PIE reported,citing JLL. However, the forecast is at risk from volatile oil prices. Almost93% of all investments were centered in Moscow, the report noted.

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The Daily Dose Europe, RealEstate edition, is updated as of 6:30 am London time. Some links require asubscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.