December 1, 2009 / 2:44 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-RioCan announces contracts on 4 shopping centers

* Three of the four properties are anchored by Walmart

* Riocan’s interest will be about C$166 million

* Centers totaling 1.2 mln sq ft located Western Canada (Adds details)

TORONTO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (REI_u.TO) said on Tuesday it has expanded its portfolio in Western Canada with four shopping centers, and will soon count Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N) as its third-largest tenant.

RioCan said it has waived conditions and expects to close on four retail shopping centers totaling 1.2 million square feet before the end of the year in British Columbia and Alberta.

Three of the four properties are anchored by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, which represents 54 percent of the occupied space by gross leasable area and generates 34 percent of the gross rental revenue.

The average lease term for these four properties is around 10 years with an average base rental rate at approximately C$17.70 per square foot.

RioCan will complete the purchases of properties in Surrey, British Columbia, and Edmonton, Alberta, on a joint venture basis with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Sun Life (SLF.TO), respectively. In both cases, RioCan will act as property and asset manager.

The other two centers are located in the province of Alberta in Lethbridge and Calgary.

The total purchase price for these properties is approximately C$280 million ($269 million), and RioCan’s interest will be about C$166 million.

“RioCan is excited to be able to acquire these very well anchored centers in excellent markets as well as expanding our relationship with Walmart, which will become RioCan’s third largest tenant upon the completion of this acquisition,” said Edward Sonshine, chief executive officer at RioCan.

RioCan, the country’s largest REIT, also counts Golf Town, Petsmart, Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO, Future Shop, Indigo Books & Music (IDG.TO), and TD Bank (TD.TO) among its tenants in these four properties.

($1=$1.04 Canadian)

Reporting by Ka Yan Ng, editing by Dave Zimmerman; Reuters Messaging:; 416-941-8109

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