Clerical Medical close to sale of Lands Improvement to MGPA

CLERICAL MEDICAL, the pensions fund owned by Lloyds Banking Group, is poised to complete the sale of its property division Lands Improvement Holdings (LIH).<br /><br />Clerical will offload LIH to the acquisitive MGPA, the Macquarie-backed property group that has been in the running on a number of high-profile property deals this year, including British Land&rsquo;s sale of Broadgate to Blackstone.<br /><br />In a deal that will provide no encouragement for property sellers and housebuilders, LIH&rsquo;s portfolio of land earmarked for development will be sold at a significant discount to what Clerical had expected just months ago.<br /><br />According to a source familiar with negotiations between Clerical and MGPA, a deal will be struck within a fortnight, with MGPA prepared to pay about &pound;47.5m for the assets of LIH.<br /><br />LIH has &pound;40m in cash, bringing the total price tag up to about &pound;87.5m, although Clerical wants &pound;91.5m. Just a few months ago LIH was valued at more than &pound;100m.<br /><br />That Clerical is willing to sell at well below its earlier figure&nbsp; is another sign that the home building market remains depressed.