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Allan Saunderson is a managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

PARIS-Pursuing its policy of exiting from housing activities, French REIT/SIIC Icade, majority controlled by the state bank Caisse des Dépôts, in mid-November agreed a €2 billion block sale of 29,452 housing units to a consortium of 25 social housing investors.

Icade said the sale will generate €600 million in capital gains, 50% of which can be distributed in the SIIC regime to shareholders. The consortium has pledged to retain staff attached to the assets, and administrative personnel to manage them. On completion, Icade will continue as planned to gradually sell housing units held under joint-ownership, amounging to another 1,553 for an appraisal value of some €160 million.

Icade, chaired by Serge Grzybowski, is active along the value chain of investment, development and services in housing, offices, business parks, shops and shopping centres and public-health amenities. In 2008, it recorded consolidated turnover of €1.6 billion and net current cash flow of €206 million. Its liquidation net asset value rose to nearly €5 billion, or €101.6 per share.

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