British Land has bought out the remaining share in BL Universal, its joint venture with the retailer GUS, for ÃÂ£163m. The 50:50 joint venture was set up in February 1997, when British Land bought 982 properties from GUS. British Land has now paid GUS ÃÂ£120m for its 50% share plus ÃÂ£43m to repay a loan from the retailer to the joint venture.
The deal values BL Universal at around ÃÂ£240m. On 30 September 2003, the ventureÃ¢â¬â¢s property portfolio was valued at ÃÂ£761.2m and its net annual income was ÃÂ£50.3m. Since BL Universal was established, 894 of the 982 properties originally in the portfolio have been sold, with the proceeds invested mainly in retail parks. The portfolio now includes 101 properties, 80% of which is retail and 20% office space. Of the retail space, 40% is shops, 30% retail warehousing and 10% supermarkets.
GUS Chief Executive, John Peace, commented: Ã¢â¬ÅSince 2000, we have been refocusing on our chosen growth businesses. The disposal of our property joint venture is a further natural step in this process.Ã¢â¬Â