June 12, 2014 / 3:31 PM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-Italy's Prelios plans to halve debt by end-2016

(Adds details, background)

MILAN, June 12 (Reuters) - Italian real estate company Prelios forecast on Thursday a near halving of its debts to 200 million euros ($272 million) by the end of 2016 as it pursues a disposal programme.

The company, whose debts totaled 388 million euros as of December 2013, manages properties in Italy and Germany but has been hit hard by writedowns on real estate investments in its recession-hit home market.

Prelios, which plans to continue selling real estate co-investments as it did in previous years, is refocusing on activities including asset management, distressed debt and real estate valuations, which it collectively terms its “service platform”.

It aims to focus entirely on these businesses by the end 2016 and expects operating profit from its service platform to grow by 40 percent by the end of 2016.

In 2013, the group’s operating profit, or earning before interests and tax (EBIT), was 6.3 million euros.

Prelios had also announced earlier this year it was in talks with U.S. private equity fund Fortress for a possible partnership in the areas of credit servicing, or debt collection, and asset management.

“Negotiations are progressing,” the company said in a statement.

$1 = 0.7345 Euros Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Francesca Landini; Editing by David Holmes

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