September 28, 2016 / 4:22 PM / 2 years ago

Artis REIT to sell Alberta retail, industrial assets: sources

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s Artis Real Estate Investment Trust (AX_u.TO) is looking to sell retail and industrial assets in Alberta worth about C$300 million ($227 million) to diversify away from the oil-producing province, according to two sources familiar with the process.

The move comes after Artis earlier this year put on the block about 50 percent of its Calgary office assets and hired BMO Capital Markets to run the process, the sources said.

Artis has not seen much demand for its Calgary office assets, and there has not been any convergence in price expectations, the sources said.

The company expects about C$300 million to C$350 million for its Calgary office assets, the sources said.

Artis declined to comment.

Demand for the retail and industrial assets has been strong, and interest has come from asset managers, real estate-focused pension funds and other real estate investment trusts, the sources said.

The sale of the retail and industrial assets could happen through multiple deals targeting a number of buyers, and is less likely to go to just one buyer, the sources said.

The slump in oil prices that began about two years ago has hurt unit prices of Alberta-exposed REITs, including Artis.

About 33 percent of the company’s net operating income comes from Alberta.

The Calgary office assets are still on the table, though the retail and industrial assets are likely to be sold faster, probably by the end of the year, the sources said.

Reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Andrew Hay

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