The transformation of Cominar REIT (CUF-UN-T) continued Monday. The trust, in the midst of a major selloff of assets valued at up to $2.6 billion, announced Michel Dallaire has resigned as chairman of its board of trustees, and as trustee.
In a release announcing the departure, Cominar said Dallaire is leaving “in order to devote his time and energy on future development projects of the Groupe Dallaire in Québec City.” Dallaire had also served as the trust’s CEO until Jan. 1, when Sylvain Cossette took over.
Alban D’Amours has been appointed the new chairman of the board of trustees.
“Cominar wishes to sincerely thank Michel for his exceptional contribution and dedication over the 20 years he has served as an executive and a trustee of Cominar,” said D’Amours in the release. “We all wish him the best of success in his future endeavors.”
D’Amours has been a trustee of Cominar since 2009 and most recently Cominar’s lead independent trustee. He was also president and CEO of the Desjardins Group from 2000-’08.
“Cominar has been an important part of my life since its creation 20 years ago,” said Dallaire in the release. “As part of a planned transition, the time has now come for me to move on, knowing that Cominar is in good hands with an experienced board and management team.”
Decline in Cominar stock prices
Cominar’s stock has been in decline in recent years, dropping from the $23-$25 range in 2012 and 2013 to a low of $12.03 in August. It has dropped from $14.90 on Jan. 26 to about $13.82 in trading Monday.
Last summer, the trust announced it would divest all non-core assets and focus on its original home base, in Quebec and the National Capital Region (see Are there buyers for the Cominar REIT portfolio?). In December, it announced a definitive agreement with Slate Acquisitions Inc. for the sale of its entire non-core market property portfolio for $1.14 billion (see Cominar to sell non-core market assets to Slate for $1.14B).
The portfolio is composed of 97 properties totalling 6.2 million square feet located in the Greater Toronto Area, the Atlantic Provinces and in Western Canada. That transaction is slated to close in March.
Cominar said $875 million of the proceeds will be used to pay down its debt.
At the same time as it announced that deal, Cominar said it would divest an additional $1 billion to $1.5 billion of core assets. The trust is currently reviewing which properties it will put on the market, and said it expects to “crystalize the value in these properties to be sold by the end of 2018.”
As of Feb. 12, Cominar remains the third-largest diversified real estate investment trust in Canada and the largest commercial property owner in the Province of Québec.
Pending its upcoming sales, the REIT owns a real estate portfolio of 525 properties in three different market segments; office properties, retail properties and industrial and mixed-use properties.
Cominar’s portfolio (including the properties it intends to sell) totals 44.1 million square feet spread out across Québec, Ontario, the Atlantic Provinces and Western Canada.