Realia Business SA agreed to sell 29.99 percent of SIIC de Paris SA, its French real estate investment trust, to Societe Fonciere Lyonnaise SA to comply with tax rules.
Societe Fonciere Lyonnaise, a Paris-based property company controlled by Inmobiliaria Colonial SA of Spain, will swap assets worth 286 million euros ($380 million) in exchange for shares of SIIC de Paris, according to a filing sent to Spanish and French regulators today.
“The operation will increase Realia’s exposure to the French commercial property business and allow SIIC de Paris to comply with regulations and recover tax benefits,” Carlos Ruiz-Garma, a spokesman for Realia, said in a separate statement.
The transaction will cut Realia’s stake in SIIC de Paris to less than 60 percent, enabling the Madrid-based company to comply with French REIT regulations and avoid losing tax benefits. Morgan Stanley, Commerz Real AG and the Dassault family have all cut their stakes in French REITs for the same reason.
The transaction is subject to approval from SIIC de Paris shareholders on Dec. 27 and also to Societe Fonciere Lyonnaise obtaining exemption from having to make a full takeover bid for SIIC de Paris, the filing said.
The assets to be exchanged include two towers with more than 48,000 square meters (517,000 square feet) of space in La Defense, Paris’s largest business district, the companies said in a statement last month.
SIIC de Paris has a market value of 504 million euros. Realia has to cut its stake by the end of the year to less than 60 percent, the most shareholders can own to qualify for tax breaks granted to REITs.