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LONDON-Pillar Property is close to concluding negotiations with new investors in the Hercules Property Unit Trust. The Jersey-based fund invests in prime out-of-town retail parks and until now the only two investors have been Pillar and Equitable Life.

Speaking at Pillar’s annual meeting, chairman Raymond Mould said: ‘The proposed sale of our major parks in Edinburgh, Chester and Preston to Hercules Unit Trust and the introduction of new investors into the trust are well under way and we would hope that this expansion will be completed by autumn 2001, thus creating a fund with more than £1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) under management.’

Mould also said he was encouraged by retailers’ sales returns on the parks. ‘In particular, the high street occupiers including Next, Gap, H&M and Borders all report strong trade on our schemes. We believe that the outlook for retail demand and further rental growth in the short to medium term remains encouraging.’

Mould said a number of new retail park acquisitions are being investigated by the company.

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