UPDATE 1-RioCan says C$500 mln in deals in progress
* Adds two properties, eyes more in Canada and U.S.
* Boosts capital with several financings in this month (Adds details)
OTTAWA Aug 11 (Reuters) - RioCan REIT (REI_u.TO) said on Wednesday it has more than C$500 million ($476 million) in deals to acquire properties in various stages of due diligence, and is in the process of completing several refinancings to boost its capital.
The real estate investment trust, Canada's biggest and oldest, said it is considering buying a number of properties in Canada and in the U.S. market, which it entered recently. If they are all completed, they will be worth more than C$500 million, it said.
That kind of activity is in line with recent moves by fellow REITs in the residential and office sectors, which are ramping up acquisition activity to satisfy pent-up demand. The recession had kept many from the market, but a number of REITs have raised capital over the past year in preparation for acquiring properties that are expected to come to market.
For now, RioCan said it has closed on a 118,330-square-foot retail property in the Montreal area, and a 361,000-square-foot shopping center in Pennsylvania, in deals worth almost C$80 million, excluding closing costs and adjustments. Both centers feature national chains as anchors such as Canadian Tire (CTC.TO) and Lowe's (LOW.N).
"Our ability to access capital and build a strong balance sheet has provided the basis for RioCan's active acquisition pipeline in both Canada and the U.S.," said Edward Sonshine, RioCan's president and chief executive.
RioCan said it refinanced four properties this month, and is in negotiations on two more. If the deals are completed, they would generate C$123 million in capital, it said.
It also said refinancing of other properties would allow it to retire the outstanding debt on some assets and generate an additional C$4.7 million of capital.
($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)
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