Partners REIT might be about to sell assets, shut down

Management of Partners Real Estate Investment Trust (PAR-UN-T) has called a meeting of shareholders on Dec. 10 to seek permission to consider selling all its assets and winding up the REIT.

IMAGE: The Partners REIT logo.In a release Wednesday night, Partners also announced it has closed the sale of nine of its 10 remaining properties in Western Canada. The release also notes Partners continues to seek purchasers for its portfolio of 11 retail/commercial properties in Quebec.

At the special meeting, shareholders will be asked to give the board approval “to sell all or substantially all of the assets of the REIT, distribute the net proceeds to the unitholders, and wind-up, liquidate, dissolve or terminate the REIT, in each case without any requirement for further unitholder approval,” the release says.

“No decision” yet on future

The release does caution no final decision has been made on the future of Partners: “While no decision has been made by the board to proceed with any such action, the approval of this amendment will facilitate the board making timely decisions in regard to these matters . . . ”

Partners says it already has the approval of its three largest shareholders, who control about 56 per cent (25,979,436 units ) of its outstanding shares, to vote yes to the amendment to its constitution.

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In line with the upcoming vote, Partners will terminate the REIT’s dividend reinvestment plan following its monthly distribution on Oct. 31.

Partners CEO Jane Domenico told RENX during a September interview the REIT was continuing to adapt its strategy – and that all options would be on the table.

“At Partners REIT, we make tough decisions and we make thorough decisions,” she said at the time. “I always say it’s active investment management, meaning we are going to look at all options.”

Sale of Western properties

The sale of the nine Western properties, along with the earlier sale of Mariner Square shopping centre in Campbell River, B.C., netted Partners about $50 million in net proceeds. The REIT will make a special distribution to its shareholders of approximately $40 million of that money, or 87 cents per share, on Nov. 9.

Due to the reduction in the size of its portfolio, Partners said its annual cash distribution per share will drop from 25 to 18 cents beginning with the November distribution (which is paid out in December).

Partners now has 24 retail and commercial properties in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba (one remaining asset) in its portfolio, comprising about 1.9 million square feet.

BMO Capital Markets is continuing to seek potential buyers for the Quebec portfolio, which Domenico told RENX has “fantastic redevelopment and development opportunities.” Partners values those properties in the $190-million range.

In early trading Thursday, Partners stock was down seven cents at $2.98.


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