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Unilever pension fund to sell €600m portfolio

Unilever’s fund called Progress wants to switch out of direct property holdings and into indirect holdings.

The Dutch pension fund of global food giant Unilever is planning to sell out of its direct property portfolio and switch its investment strategy to unlisted international real estate funds.

Property services company Richard Ellis has been appointed to market the sale of an approximately €600 million ($795 million) portfolio of residential and retail properties for the fund. According to a statement made by the firm, the portfolio will come to market next month and a sale is hoped to be completed during the second half of the year.

The properties, which exceeded its benchmark by returning 12.1 percent in 2007, may be sold separately or in packages. The portfolio comprises 52 residential complexes totalling 2,400 homes and 430,000 square feet of retail space. Last year, this represented about 20 percent of the pension fund’s asset allocation.

The proceeds will be reinvested into indirect real estate, the mandates of which will be decided later this year.