Sunday, October 14, 2007

Royal Bank of Scotland Plans $1.63 Billion Sale Leaseback of UK Property Portfolio

Reuters - October 12, 2007

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) is looking to unlock capital from its UK property estate by selling 800 million pounds ($1.63 billion) of assets, a market source told Reuters on Friday.

An RBS spokeswoman said the sale was part of an ongoing programme, without confirming specific details. She declined to comment on a report in the Financial Times which said the bank would use proceeds from a sale to help finance its share of the acquisition of Dutch bank ABN AMRO.

The bank has appointed property services firm Cushman & Wakefield to co-ordinate the sale of around 60 properties in one of the biggest British corporate sale-and-leasebacks this year, the source said. The portfolio includes a landmark building on London's Strand which is currently occupied by its private banking arm Coutts.

The sale-and-leaseback office deal represents the latest phase in the bank's long-term strategy to maximise value from real estate assets on its balance sheet. "RBS constantly reviews its space requirements to ensure that our property assets remain relevant to the needs of our business and have completed two tranches of property sales in the past two years," the RBS spokeswoman said. "These new tranches are part of this ongoing programme," she added.

Earlier this month, the bank put a 650 million pound portfolio of UK hotel assets on the market in a bid to realise profits gained during a four-year UK property boom, which ended this summer. Sphere: Related Content

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