Equity One buys $250m shops unit

CAPITAL Shopping Centres is to sell its American arm to US property group Equity One, in a deal worth around $600m (£416m).

The British company will receive 4.1m shares and 10.9m joint venture units in exchange for transferring its portfolio of 15 Californian properties to Equity One. Capital, part of Liberty International until a demerger in March, said it had been looking for a buyer for some months.

However, it intends to retain its interest in Equity One and the joint venture to benefit from its growth potential. Capital’s American subsidiary valued its gross assets at £380.1m at the end of December 2009. Equity One will also take over around £229m of mortgage debt.

The deal is due to close towards the end of the year and leaves Capital with 95 per cent of its business in the UK. The firm owns 13 shopping centres across the country.

The company said the deal should not have a significant impact on its underlying profits after tax.

David Fischel, chief executive of Capital Shopping Centres, said: “We plan to hold onto the shares, and we will have someone on the board at Equity One, but the US business is not something we want to focus on.”