Lend Lease considers to sell U.S. operations

Australian property developer Lend Lease Corp Ltd. may sell its underperforming A$2 billion ($1.1 billion) North American real estate investment (REI) operations, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.

Lend Lease, which has property management, property development and REI operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States, posted a drop in profits from its U.S. REI division in 2001/02 as the weak economy sapped activity.

Lend Lease had appointed Merrill Lynch as adviser on its North American strategy and had already received several approaches for the U.S.-based REI unit, the newspaper reported without citing sources. Citigroup, Prudential Financial, CB Richard Ellis Investors and Lehman Brothers were among possible buyers, it reported.

Speculation about an asset sale follows a string of profit warnings as Lend Lease works through a transition to a pure property play after selling its MLC financial services arm in June 2000 for A$4.56 billion.

An update about Lend LeaseÂ's ongoing strategic review is expected at its annual meeting on November 8.

(source: Reuters)

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