The retailer signed 15-year leases at all the stores, allrecently constructed or expanded properties that are located acrossthe country. The company could not be reached for comment, but saidin a press release last month that it planned to sell-leaseback thestores for $174 million. The properties total almost one millionsf. The firm, Canada's largest tire retailer, owns about 74% of itsproperties and leases the rest. "Carefully selected sale-leasebacksenable us to monetize the value of select properties, creatingfinancial flexibility while maintaining operating flexibility,"said Tom Gauld, president and CEO, in the statement. The retaileroperates more than 1,170 general merchandise and apparel retailstores and gas stations.


Charter's new properties total almost 200,000 sf, and are inBrockville, Strathroy and Wasaga Beach, Ontario. Ari Silverberg,president and CEO, says his REIT secured $10 million of corporatedebt to fund the transaction, without borrowing additional amountsfrom its acquisition facility. Management expects the acquisitionto add about one cent per unit to FFO in the next 12 months, a 5%increase in the REIT's annualized FFO per unit. "We are a bigbeliever in Canadian Tire, they are the best in Canada in terms ofgetting the market right," he tells He says the REIT,which was formed only last year, focuses mostly on national-typeretailers.


The other REIT, known as Creit, purchased stores that range from54,000 sf to 130,000 sf, with 740,000 sf in total. Three of thesites also include a freestanding Marks Work Wearhouse store. Theproperties are in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec andNova Scotia.


Stephen Johnson, president and CEO of Creit, said in a statementthat there are several reasons why the transaction was perfect forhis trust. "Canadian Tire is an investment grade credit and has amarket capitalization of almost $5 billion, so this transaction canbe expected to deliver reliable rental revenue, and there will beconsistent growth in the rental income as per the contractual termsof the 15-year lease," he said his trust's statement. Otherbenefits come from knowing the stores are new or expanded, and someare well-known to the trust, such as the Canadian Tire that's inthe Creit-owned Dartmouth Crossing Shopping Centre in Halifax, NovaScotia. "Given the current uncertainty in both the economy and thecredit markets, this transaction is a low-risk, sound investment,"Johnson said in the statement. Company officials did not returncalls for comment.

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