Delek buys 30 Canadian strip malls

Company's strategy of expansion triggers purchase of Jean Coutu's strip malls.

By DANIEL KENNEMER
October 11, 2005 15:26
2 minute read.
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delek logo 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Delek Belron International agreed, with unnamed foreign partners, to purchase 30 commercial centers in Canada from Jean Coutu, the country’s second largest pharmacy chain, for C$111.7 million (NIS 435m.), Delek said Monday. “The deal reflects the company’s strategy to expand its activity in Canada while making sure to invest in properties in central locations, rented to quality tenants for long terms, and in areas serving the population’s needs,” said Rami Naor, Delek Real Estate’s foreign operations advisor. Delek Belron, which will likely make its 45% investment through a foreign subsidiary, would hold the largest stake in the centers. Longueuil, Quebec-based Jean Coutu signed a “sell and leaseback” agreement with Delek, a subsidiary of Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Real Estate group, and the others whereby 45 percent of the purchased properties’ commercial space will be leased to the pharmacy chain until 2020. The remaining units currently at 95% occupancy are leased to other long-term commercial tenants. Twenty-six of the strip malls included in the deal are located in the province of Quebec 16 in the Montreal area and the Eastern Townships and 10 in and around Quebec City and four others are located in Ontario. The commercial properties cover roughly 70,000 square meters in total, Delek said. According to the agreement, the properties’ yields, in total, will begin at C$8.4m. (NIS 33m.) in rent yearly, but rents will rise 1.4% annually. A final agreement was expected to be signed in the beginning of November, once certain conditions are met. The purchase will be financed through a non-recourse loan from a bank at 75% of the total cost of the property purchased. The loan will be taken out for a period of 10 years at a fixed interest rate of 5%, and will be paid back over the course of a 30-year amortization schedule. The deal, therefore, would bring an average yearly yield of 7.5% on the purchase, and roughly 15% on Delek’s own capital invested in the purchase, the company said. Jean Coutu said it would gain roughly C$26m. before taxes from the transaction, C$10m. of which represents the leaseback portion for the drugstores that will be deferred over the life of the leases. The company intends to use net proceeds if the deal to repay a portion of its senior secured credit facilities. “These malls were non-core holdings and the timing was good to sell them in order to obtain good value in return. This sale will allow us to reduce our debt, which is in line with our stated commitment to deleverage over the coming years,” said Jean Coutu President and CEO Francois J. Coutu. Delek Real Estate shares rose 5.8% to sell at NIS 18.76 on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by the end of trading Monday.



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