CSC eyeing $687 mln Trafford mall stake sale - sources

LONDON Fri Nov 9, 2012 8:43am EST

LONDON Nov 9 (Reuters) - A stake in one of Britain's best-known shopping centres may be sold for about 430 million pounds ($687 million), as the owner taps demand from overseas buyers for the country's best real estate, sources said.

Capital Shopping Centres is exploring the sale of a quarter stake in the Trafford Shopping Centre in Manchester worth about 430 million pounds based on the mall's 1.73 billion-pound valuation in June, three property sources told Reuters.

"They will be talking to the usual suspects of far eastern and Canadian pension funds as well as sovereign wealth funds," one of the sources told Reuters.

A CSC spokeswoman declined to comment.

The sale would fit with a strategy outlined by the company, which last month said it was considering the "introduction of equity partners into major assets" to release cash to revamp its shopping centres and buy other malls.

Despite a deteriorating retail climate, large shopping centres such as the Trafford Centre which dominate their catchment area are sought after by investors as they have weathered the tough retailing climate relatively well.

Last month, Norway's sovereign wealth fund bought a 50 percent stake in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield for 348 million pounds, a mall co-owned by developer British Land.

The two million square foot Trafford Centre has 30 million visitors per year and was Britain's largest shopping centre when opened in 1998. It contains 242 shops and has retailers such as Apple, John Lewis and Selfridges.

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