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Unilever fund makes Progress with €500m sales

Progress, the Netherlands-based pension fund, has sold out of more than €500m of direct real estate assets as part of a strategy to switch to indirect investing.

Progress, the Netherlands-based pension fund responsible for investing the pensions of staff at food manufacturing company Unilver, has sold more than €500 million of real estate across the country as it alters its strategy from direct real estate investing to investing indirectly.

The sale by the fund with €4 billion of capital was announced today by advisor on the deal, Richard Ellis.

Progress appointed the broker in January to sell 54 mixed-use, office and retail properties. To date it has sold 43. The firm said 35 of the assets had been transferred to their new owners while eight were yet to be transferred.The firm said that nine further assets were currently in the “due diligence” process.

Among the assets sold was 258,335 square feet of office space at Unilever’s corporate headquarters in Rotterdam, for €86 million to German fund manager Real IS.

The pension fund changed its strategy away from direct investing in October last year. According to reports, the pension fund’s direct allocation to real estate at the end of 2007, was €770 million, reflecting approximately 15 percent of the fund.