* To buy retail properties for $53 mln
* To assume debt of $85.6 mln
* Says will buy on an 80-20 joint venture basis
May 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (REI_u.TO) said it agreed with U.S.-based Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust Inc to purchase eight retail properties in Texas for about $53 million.
RioCan said through its unit RioCan Holdings USA Inc, it will acquire on an 80-20 joint venture basis a portfolio of eight retail properties with Inland Western.
The total consideration to be paid by RioCan is about $138 million, including the assumption of $85.6 million of property level mortgage debt on the portfolio, the company said in a statement.
RioCan said the properties are located in three major markets within Texas -- Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin.
In February, RioCan said it had earmarked at least C$500 million to spend this year on acquisitions, with an eye trained on the U.S. market, which it entered last year. [ID:nN09103382]
“This acquisition is an opportunity to further RioCan’s investment strategy to acquire high quality defensive assets in large and growing urban markets,” Chief Executive Edward Sonshine said in a statement.
RioCan said two of the largest tenants in the portfolio are grocery tenants HEB -- one of the largest grocers in Texas -- and Tom Thumb, owned by Safeway Inc SWY.N.
RioCan shares closed at C$18.21 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))