"We were able to do this deal despite the tightening of thecredit markets by providing financing to Schuler on an all-equitybasis," relays W.P. Carey international president Edward LaPuma.The arrangement was helpful to Schuler in the wake of a recenttakeover that tapped substantial capital from the firm, LaPumaexplains. That element required the process be consummated quicklyregardless of the credit environment, offering an opportunity forCarey that others could not react to in the mandated time window,he says.

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Publicly traded on the German stock exchange, Schuler AG is aworldwide leader in the production of metal-forming machines andrelated equipment. A middle-market operation, the operation is thesort that "serves as the backbone of the German economy," LaPumasays. Given their prominence, so-called "mittelstand" firms couldbe a rich source for investment fund managers such as W.P. Carey topursue future sale-leaseback ventures in the country, LaPumasays.

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"Schuler is a perfect example of a mittelstand companybenefiting from a properly structured long-term financing, and atthe same time, is a solid investment for W.P. Carey," he says.LaPuma's firm last week completed a $31-million sale-leaseback witha similarly sized German firm, he notes, and has additionalprospects in its sights as companies there turn to harvestingcorporately owned real estate as a strategy to improve the balancesheet and outsource facility operations.

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The Schuler assets were secured via Carey's CPA15 and CPA16funds, the latter of which was structured to pursue globalopportunities. That fund has properties in both Asia and Mexico,but most of the international focus to date has been on Europe.Presently, W.P. Carey owns through its series of CPA funds morethan 850 commercial and industrial properties in 14 countries,assets representing close to 100 million sf.

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