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ProLogis Europe plans legal switch

A European-listed fund managed by Denver-based ProLogis is altering its legal structure as a result of the credit crunch.

ProLogis European Properties, an Amsterdam-listed property company managed by Denver-based ProLogis, said today it wanted to alter its legal structure in a bid to cope with the fall-out from the credit crunch, improve corporate governance and get ready to take advantage of opportunities.

At the moment ProLogis European Properties is a real estate investment fund organised as a Luxembourg closed-ended fonds commun de placement externally managed by a subsidiary of ProLogis.

The vehicle though wants to convert into a société d’investissement à capital fixe (SICAF).

The company said the advantages of conversion included increased “financial flexibility” to any further deterioration in the real estate or credit markets by enabling the company to raise equity. The firm added it would improve transparency as well as corporate governance.

The company will need regulatory approval and a vote at an extraordinary general meeting to make the switch.

The change is part of a raft of changes at the company, which is listed on Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. It will retain this listing.

Peter Cassells, chief executive, said in a statement: “Whilst we have made significant progress with our deleveraging strategy since the beginning of the year, the weakness in the macro economic environment continues to impact the real estate and credit markets. The proposed conversion will enable us to protect (the company) against the downside risk of further deterioration in property values and provides flexibility to address significant debt maturities of approximately €570 million in 2010.”

He added the conversion would help the business exploit opportunities.