SAO PAULO Brazilian real estate developer BR Properties SA (BRPR3.SA) will sell most of its industrial warehouses and logistics facilities to Singapore-listed Global Logistic Properties Limited (GLPL.SI) for 3.18 billion reais ($1.36 billion), according to a securities filing on Wednesday.
The sale reflects a recent trend across Brazil's corporate landscape, as the country's biggest companies cut back operations and sell assets to shore up balance sheets amid tougher economic conditions. The commercial real estate sector has been particularly hard-hit, with skittish potential tenants and abundant supply leading to stubbornly high vacancy rates.
In November, BR Properties said it would sell the properties to WTGoodman IBP Participações, a joint venture between Australia's Goodman Group Pty Ltd (GMG.AX) and local developer WTorre, pending a due diligence period.
In Wednesday's filing, however, BR Properties said the deal was now being carried out with GLP's LPP Empreendimentos e Participações unit after WTGoodman IBP's exclusivity agreement expired.
A spokeswoman for BR Properties said the company would not comment on the deal, which according to the filing is subject to regulatory approval, among other conditions.
Press representatives for GLP and WTGoodman's Brazil unit were also unable to provide further information.
Cash generated by the asset sale will be used to cut debt, buy back shares and pay dividends, BR Properties said.
Nearly 25 percent of BR Properties' debt is denominated in U.S. dollars, according to Thomson Reuters data. Brazil's currency weakened about 6.6 percent against the dollar in the fourth quarter, contributing to a 32 percent jump in financial expenses in the quarter from the same period in 2013.
While the company has tried to reduce its debt burden since early 2012, net debt at the end of December was up slightly from the previous quarter at 4.6 billion reais.
Shares of BR Properties rose 0.71 percent to 17.12 reais in afternoon trading in Sao Paulo, but are down about 29 percent over the past 12 months.
BR Properties said in November that it would buy back up to 5.5 percent of total outstanding shares by May 8. Last month the company said about 75 percent of the buyback had been completed through December.
($1 = 2.33 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Asher Levine, Juliana Schincariol and Alberto Alerigi, Jr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)